Q&A: Ricky Nolasco

West Tenn's Ricky Nolasco got off to an 8-0 start before losing three months into the season this past week. Inside The Ivy recently caught up with the right-hander and inquired about his 2005 all-star campaign, what he has changed from last year, and more.

Inside The Ivy: You got off to an 8-0 start and made your first all-star team. Where do you go from here?

Ricky Nolasco: I just want to continue doing the same thing I have been doing, keep the ball rolling and move up a level; whatever I have to do to get to the big leagues.

Inside The Ivy: You were at Triple-A for a while last year and things didn't go so well. So you come back to West Tenn this year where you've had pretty much a career season, wouldn't you agree?

Ricky Nolasco: Yeah, I'd say so. But really, Triple-A is mixed in with a lot of older and younger guys. The older guys help a lot since they aid the young guys. It's a good learning experience. You see a lot of veteran hitters who challenge you to throw all of your pitches for strikes. I think it's a good level to pitch at right before the big leagues.

Inside The Ivy: Tell us what it was like a couple of weeks ago listening to your teammates, Adam Greenberg and Matt Murton, getting the call up to the big league club.

Ricky Nolasco: Everybody was real positive. It's really good to see. When I was in Triple-A last year and guys were getting the call up, it wasn't nearly the same atmosphere. The good thing I liked was that everybody was real happy for these guys, and I think that's the way it should be. Everybody is going to get an opportunity, so it's up to you as to how you want to take it. They were excited and everyone was excited for them. Hopefully, they'll stay up there and have good careers.

Inside The Ivy: We know you've talked a lot about perfecting your changeup this year. Has that been the only thing you've changed from last year when you were here?

Ricky Nolasco: My mechanics have been a lot better and I've had better command of my fastball. I think my arm slot was down last year, which was affecting my command. Now, I've found a more comfortable slot and am throwing a little harder. I've been keeping the same thing going, trying to throw strikes and keeping hitters guessing.

Inside The Ivy: A lot has been made about the uncertainty of this club and where in the Southern League it will play next year. Do any of the players ever pick up on any of that from the fans at the park or through other outlets?

Ricky Nolasco: It's nice to play in front of a lot of fans, but you can't let that bother you or affect the way you perform. I really don't think about it; I just go out and do my own business.

Inside The Ivy: Your brother, Dave, was pitching in the Brewers' farm system. What's he doing now?

Ricky Nolasco: He got released in Spring Training as you know, but he just landed a pretty good job with my brother-in-law's uncle. He's going to put baseball on hold for now and see what happens.

Inside The Ivy: Going back to promotions, etc., with the season you're having, how often does Triple-A and even Chicago cross your mind?

Ricky Nolasco: You know, it goes through my mind every day. That's the one thing I think about each day. Whenever it happens, it happens. It's tough, but you have to be patient. I know it will come. I'm confident in myself that I'm going to have a successful career in the big leagues one day. Everything happens for a reason. If God wants me to wait another year, then that's what will happen. If He wants it to be tomorrow, then it's tomorrow. Whenever it happens, I know I'll be ready for the challenge and hopefully I'll be a successful major league pitcher.

Inside The Ivy: Ricky, good luck to you the rest of the way.

Ricky Nolasco: Thanks. I appreciate it.

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