Cardinals Winter Warm-Up Series: Relievers

New series with player comments from the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-up continues with five relief pitchers.

This is the second in a new six-part series in which audio of groups of St. Louis Cardinals players speaking to the media during this month's Winter Warm-Up are provided in their entirety.

This second installment includes five members of the projected 2011 bullpen. The first four are audio clips. I had a problem with Jason Motte's audio so am listing his comments in writing.

Ryan Franklin (13:56)

Kyle McClellan (8:26)

Mitchell Boggs (10:06)

Trever Miller (10:13)

Jason Motte (see below)

(In reference to Franklin's retirement and his and Boggs' chances of taking over as closer.) "I think we've both tried to learn and I don't think this year will be any different from years past. This may or may not be his last year. It may be, but it may not be, so I'm not going to look at it any different way. I'm still going to try to learn from him the same way I did last year and the year before and I think Mitch is going to do the same thing."

(What he has learned from Franklin.) Really just how to go out there and conduct yourself. "The way he approaches hitters and the way he goes at guys and his mindset out there. You look at him and he's pretty calm and collected out there, and I think me and Mitchell are a little bit more high strung, but we can both get that little bit of, I think were under control, even though other people may think we are out there going crazy.

"I'm pretty sure were both under control out there, so just the way he goes out there and his philosophy. You go out there one day and if you have a bad day, hell talk to you and say what were you thinking with that, ‘oh well I tried to throw it here, or I was thinking about this pitch, but I threw this one,' and he just shows you how to go out there and do your job and try to be consistent at it."

(Is there a chance he can close in 2012?) "There may be, but like I said, it's the last year of his contract but there's nothing set that he won't come back. He's done a great job for all the years he's been here so if he goes out and has another great year, if he comes back, great. He's a good friend of mine. I talk to him during the offseason, so you know it but you don't really think about it. You just go out there and do your job and get the guy out that's at the plate at the time."

(What pitches will he use?) "Probably the same thing I was throwing last year. I think last year I mixed in my two-seamer a lot more. I got to where I was more comfortable with it. I was throwing it and I wasn't up there babying it. Probably just my four -seamer, two-seamer, cutter and then I guess my slider/curve thing that I throw up there every once in a while."

(What areas to improve?) "There's always stuff you can do and more you can do. You are never satisfied and you're never going to have a zero ERA so there's always something you can improve on from year to year. Last year I mixed things up a little bit and had some success so hopefully this year I can mix it up more or maybe stick with the same thing. It just all depends on the hitter, the situation, the team, what's going on. Ill just go out there and try to get the guy out."

(It he set in the pen?) "It is but it isn't. I still feel like nothing is really guaranteed. I know that may sound stupid but nothing really is guaranteed. I have to go out there and still prove myself in spring to the coaches, Tony, the other players, that I belong there, and then throughout the year prove that I belong up there. It's one of those things where I feel like every year I have to prove myself. I think everybody does the same thing. I don't think Adam Wainwright or Carp come in comfortable. I don't think Yadi or Albert ever come in and are happy with last year and live on that. I think everybody tries to improve every year and that's what all of us are trying to do and definitely what I'm trying to do, come in and do better. There's definitely no comfort level. I'm still trying to compete and prove that I belong."

(What is his preparation plan?) "I did it a little bit different this year. Last year I was probably throwing way too early so this year I kind of took it back a little bit and began throwing, light tossing in middle of December and now I'm getting into long tossing, because it doesn't take my arm very long to get ready. Last year I was just sitting around and I was like ‘well I have nothing to do so Ill go play catch,' but it was December, so that's the only difference from this year to last year."

(Any health issues?) "I'm not feeling anything at all right now. I feel great - knock on wood. I've ben throwing and playing catch and everything feels fine. I've thrown a light side or two at the University of Memphis – it's right up the street from me - and everything feels fine. I don't know if that had anything to do with it last year or what. I don't think it did, I think it was just one of those things. I don't think it was one thing last year that led me to have the problems I had.

"I felt perfectly fine the rest of the season, and that's what I was kind of iffy about coming back, I was like ‘oh man, get on the mound and throw' and when I got out there, I didn't and haven't felt anything since getting myself ready. When I was pitching, I kept it out of my mind. When you are out there pitching you have to go out there and do your thing. I don't think about it."

(How will it be with new bullpen coach?) "I don't know. I guess we will have to see. A lot of the guys that are in the bullpen, I know me Boggs, Mac, I think Salas, have all worked with Lilly so we know what he does and how he goes about things so it's one of those things where you go out there and you know he obviously knows what he's doing or he wouldn't have gotten the job.

"I don't know because he was always the pitching coach and not that he's not the pitching coach, but it's a little bit different in the bullpen. Just looking at half of us, were probably not all right, but its one of those things where we will have to see how it changes or if it changes or what happens, I guess only time will tell."

(Mixed feelings about the change?) Yes and no, but at the same time, I don't think I had much say so in the matter, they didn't say ‘I think were going to hire this guy, what do you think?' I can't speak for Mo or Tony or any of those guys so I don't know what went into it or who else was up for it, but he has worked with a lot of us and even in spring training, he's always down there working with us. He's always there. Everyone knows him and his philosophy and how he goes about it. I think he and Dunc have the same philosophy, kind of like Marty, they all say the same thing so you don't have one guy saying go left and one saying go right. They were on the same page, so we will see."

(On 2010.) "I think the bullpen did a good job last year. We lost Dennys and he was a great guy and we loved having him. With the additions we have, I think we'll be fine. But like I said, that's why we go play the games. There's no telling, you still have to go out there and play 162."

(Miss Hawksworth?) "Yeah, I think when everything went down, it was sad to see Hawk go because being down in the bullpen everybody is close, but we got a good player back and then with Berkman and signing Westbrook back, I was pretty excited about everything. I talked to Mitchell and Mac and some guys and everybody thinks it's a good situation. We all kind of liked what was going on."

(Reaction if closer.) "If that's what they have me do, that would be cool, but honestly I'm a completely different person on the field than I am off the field, and if it happens, that's cool I guess. If I go out there and close games, that would be cool, if I'm doing what I am doing now, then that's fine. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to play baseball, have a healthy career and that's really about it. From that, there's nothing else you can control."

For photos of these Cardinals and many more from Winter Warm-Up, head over to The Cardinal Nation Blog:
"Cardinals Winter Warm-Up Saturday photos"
"Cardinals Winter Warm-Up Sunday and Monday photos"

Other installments in this series:
The Rotation
The Infielders – coming soon
The Outfielders – coming soon
The Brass (executives and coaches) – coming soon
The Minor Leaguers – coming soon

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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