Jeff Lyman Interview

Rome Braves' right-hander Jeff Lyman had one of his toughest outings of the season Sunday night, allowing three runs in three innings. But overall this season, Lyman has been outstanding. The right-hander has a 4-1 record in his 12 games with a 3.10 ERA. The Braves Show's Bill Shanks talked with Lyman after Sunday's game about his 2006 season.

SHANKS: Tell me about the injury that kept you out for a while?
LYMAN: Yeah it was a little more than a month. It was a glut strain that was causing swelling and inflammation in the SI joint. That‘s the joint in your hip. A lot of pitchers do a lot of rotation on it. It‘s not very serious, but it can be extremely painful.

SHANKS: Did it happen on one pitch?
LYMAN: I had strained it a while back and had always pitched through it. I just never really took care of it. That was mostly my fault. In the first inning of the game I got hurt in, I could just feel it get real tight and I struggled throughout that first inning. Then I could barely throw my warmup pitches the next innings. I ended up getting through it.

SHANKS: So I imagine you had to do a lot of exercises to strengthen it?
LYMAN: Yeah I got a cortisone shot. They originally thought it was back spasms, so I had thrown a couple of bullpens to see if I could come back. Then I went and got a X-ray, got a cortisone shot, and they cleared up all the inflammation and swelling. Then I went back and did a lot of rehab with exercises.

SHANKS: And you made two rehab starts in Florida?
LYMAN: Yeah two starts in Gulf Coast.

SHANKS: So before you were hurt, how did you think you were throwing?
LYMAN: I felt like I was doing well. I felt like I was throwing better ever time I went out there. That's what I was most happy about, that I was learning something new about myself and something new about how to pitch every time I got on the mound.

SHANKS: Now that you‘re back, is your injury okay?
LYMAN: Yeah the injury is behind me now. Obviously I have to continue strengthening it, getting my legs back in shape. Mostly the way it‘s affected me is really taking that time off from throwing, so you‘ve got to kind of find your mechanics and your arm slot and everything with your mechanics..

SHANKS: Are you throwing fastball, curve, and change?
LYMAN: Yeah, fastball, curve, and change.

SHANKS: Has the curve always been a good pitch for you?
LYMAN: It‘s been alright, but this year it‘s been a little bit better. I was actually probably throwing a sharper breaking ball last year, but this year I‘m throwing it more for strikes and throwing it in better situations.

SHANKS: Sounds like you‘re really learning how to pitch.
LYMAN: Yeah. I probably had better stuff last year than I do now. I didn‘t have a very successful season in the Gulf Coast League. The complete difference is just learning how to pitch and set up hitters.

SHANKS: So it‘s been 12 months since you signed. How much different are you as a pitcher now?
LYMAN: Tons. Tons. When I first came out I was just seeing how hard I could throw it. Now a lot of the guys can put the bat on a 94 mph fastball if they know it‘s coming, so why not take a mile or two off and spot up by using your fastball to set up your other pitches and use your breaking pitches to set up your fastball.

SHANKS: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
LYMAN: Mostly to stay healthy and avoid getting hurt again. Also, continue to learn how to pitch. Every time I get out there to have a goal in mind and try to accomplish it.

SHANKS: You talked about not feeling your arm slot. You can even learn from that and know in the future what you have to do to find that arm slot.
LYMAN: Tonight I got the loss and didn‘t really pitch very well, but I learned something in that first inning that I can‘t keep on trying to force the ball through there. I‘ve got to make the adjustments if something isn‘t working.



Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.


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