Q&A: RHP, Sergio Mitre

Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with Cubs right-hander Sergio Mitre. Inside Mitre answers my questions on his season, and his assessment of things at this point in the season.

Nicole: Hi, and thanks for taking some time out for a few questions.

Mitre: My pleasure.

Nicole: First off, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Mitre: I was born in Los Angeles; went to school in San Diego. I went to junior college in there. I was drafted in 2001 and made my major league debut last year.

Nicole: Speaking of your major league debut, describe the rush from going directly from a rather small population in Jackson, Tennessee to a jam-packed crowd full of 39,000+ in Atlanta, Georgia overnight?

Mitre: It was really exciting. The adrenaline gets going a lot quicker. I mean, that was the first time I ever played in front of a big crowd and it's something that I'll never forget.

Mitre: How did your first start at Triple-A go? What was going through your head?

Mitre: It was decent. Not too bad. I struggled a little bit at the beginning but got into a rhythm afterward. There's still some work to be done, though. Basically, I'm trying to be more consistent.

Nicole: I'm curious as to where you stand right now confidence-wise. Do you think you're a bit more positive knowing you've proved you can make quality starts, or are you a bit deterred by having to be sent back down a notch?

Mitre: Oh no, if anything I'm more excited to get out there and show that I can pitch and move on to the next level. I mean, every start is important to me and the confidence level is there. Obviously, it grows every time you have a successful start.

Nicole: What was it like to fill Mark Prior's shoes this season?

Mitre: I didn't really look at it like I was filling his shoes. I was just trying to do my job, and my own thing. So I never looked at it as trying to fill anyone's shoes really.

Nicole: What kind of advice did you receive from both Dusty Baker and Larry Rothschild that has helped you become a better pitcher?

Mitre: They just told me to keep working on my stuff. Just to keep going at it; concentrate more and be more consistent.

Nicole: What is the difference in the game that Michael Barrett calls as opposed to that of Paul Bako? Any similarities? Anything noticeably different?

Mitre: Usually we have a game plan going into the game. So it varies a little bit, but not that much because most of the time we're on the same page. We really go over hitters the same way and such.

Nicole: Did the Cubs want you to continue being a starter, or was that your idea? Would you have been happy taking a bullpen role? How did that work?

Mitre: I've always been a starter since I've been with the Cubs. Last year was the first time I actually relieved. I think they wanted me to stay a starter, but I don't know. We'll see what happens later on.

Nicole: So who's the practical joker in the Cubs clubhouse? Does Greg Maddux live up to his reputation?

Mitre: Yeah, it varies. Sometimes it'll be Maddux. It just depends on what day it is.

Nicole: How about you?

Mitre: I'm a little bit more quiet. (both laugh)

Nicole: You had struggled against left-handers this season. What do you attribute to that? Are you just not as comfortable facing lefties as opposed to right-handed hitters?

Mitre: I haven't really looked at those stats, so I don't know. I try to be more careful with lefties as opposed to going right after them.

Nicole: And now to the serious questions... are you married or have a girlfriend?

Mitre: Yeah, I have a girlfriend.

Nicole: So how does that work, with the baseball and stuff, and all the traveling, etc.?

Mitre: It's tough. It gets a little bit tough. You gotta make it work somehow. She's back home now, though.

Nicole: Thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule!

Mitre: Oh my pleasure. No problem.

Nicole: Good luck this year and beyond!

Mitre: Good luck to you, too!

Nicole Smith covers the Chicago Cubs on a daily basis for CubsTalk.com. Contact Nicole by clicking here.

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