SHANKS: Now that you've had time to reflect, what are your thoughts on last season?
LYMAN: It was kind of a mixed season. The first half I pitched great and felt really comfortable with myself. Then I got hurt and came back and kind of struggled the whole year. I started making too many adjustments and starting pitching going away from how I usually pitch.
SHANKS: Because of the injury?
LYMAN: Well it was either because of the injury or because I started getting hit a little bit or a combination of both. But all in all it was a good year. I learned a lot about myself, what I can and can't do, what I need to do during the year to maintain my health and my conditioning.
SHANKS: And that's what you do in your first full year – learn as you go along?
LYMAN: Yeah definitely. Last year, whether it was because of the injury or not, I sort of felt fatigued just because I had thrown 100 innings in my first full season. So I learned a lot about myself and what I need to do to stay healthy and stay competitive throughout the year.
SHANKS: How do you think your stuff improved last year? Did you see good development there?
LYMAN: Toward the end of the year I really started to get a good feel of my changeup, and that was the pitch that I had never really thrown before. I always threw a split in high school. And I really started feeling comfortable with it toward the end of the year, and coming in this year it's even better. So I'm really excited about that.
SHANKS: How much can a very good changeup help your repertoire?
LYMAN: Tons. It's huge. There's a huge difference pitching with two pitches and pitching with three. It helped me a lot against left-handed hitters. It's just a huge advantage.
SHANKS: Tell me again the exact injury you had last season.
LYMAN: It was a partial tear in the glut that was causing inflammation in the SI joint, which is right in your hip.
SHANKS: Is that bothering you at all now?
LYMAN: It's fine. I rehabbed real hard this offseason, and I need to continue rehabbing, essentially for the rest of my career. I don't want it to ever come up again.
SHANKS: Is keeping it strong the key?
LYMAN: Keeping it real strong and just monitoring it and just be aware that this could potentially be a problem and not letting it get to that point.
SHANKS: We're still early here, but what do you hope will happen when you leave here? Myrtle Beach?
LYMAN: I obviously want to start off in Myrtle Beach this year, but I'll understand if they want to send me back to Rome for a little bit. My goal is to start off in Myrtle Beach and to stay healthy and have a successful season.
SHANKS: Do you worry about the numbers game? There are just so many people out here in these red shirts (pitchers).
LYMAN: Yeah. I never really get caught up with wins or losses. The only numbers I really pay attention to are the walks and the strikeouts and try to keep the walks and hits down and the strikeouts up.
SHANKS: Is that a goal for you – to keep the walks down a bit?
LYMAN: Definitely. Toward the end of last year I started falling behind hitters a lot and walking more batters. I just stopped being aggressive. That's something I want to do more of this year – being more aggressive and in the zone.
SHANKS: Does that lack of aggressiveness cause the higher walk totals sometimes?
LYMAN: Yeah giving the hitters too much credit. Not trusting your stuff. Last year in the first half I was being aggressive and staying in there and going after guys. Then in the second half I started to nit-pick a bit more and fall behind. That's something that I learned about myself too and know I have to improve this year.
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. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Lyman ready for complete healthy season
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