More with Lee Gwaltney -- a Q&A

In the second part of our visit with Daytona pitcher Lee Gwaltney, the right-hander opens up about his first season with the Cubs organization, a recent blister on his pitching hand, the career in sports he almost pursued, and more.

Inside The Ivy: You were a starter at Peoria, but after a few starts with Daytona, you've pitched strictly from the bullpen. Who made that call and what was your reaction?

Lee Gwaltney: I don't remember exactly who made the call, but I know that my pitching coach, Mike Anderson, was the one who informed me. I kept rubbing a blister on the inside of my thumb and had gotten to where I could only go four or five innings before it would start to tear open. They moved me to the bullpen and the blister hasn't resurfaced at all. My arm actually feels better, too. I was happy with their decision. When I was with the Phillies, they thought one day I'd be a reliever anyway.

Inside The Ivy: You were one of five people recently ejected in a game for arguing. Five in one game -- what prompted all the fireworks?

Lee Gwaltney: Yeah, there were a few of us ejected. We were playing Jupiter and their manager (Tim Cossins) was the first to go, as was their catcher (Patrick Arlis) eventually. The crew just wasn't very good as far as all the calls they were making. I came in and gave up six runs, only one of which was earned. I gave up a lot of seeing-eye singles that night. Anyway, I wasn't real happy with the way things were going. I came off the field after the umpire (Manuel Gonzalez) had made three bad calls, and I was letting him know from the dugout what I thought. He started looking in the dugout and was told by one of our coaches that he shouldn't be doing that, so he tossed both me and him (Mike Micucci). Chris Walker was tossed earlier by the first base umpire because he was safe on a bunt hit.

Inside The Ivy: Walk us through the process of coming over to the Cubs from the Phillies.

Lee Gwaltney: The Phillies released me in February and I signed with the Cubs during the last week of Spring Training. I went to Mesa and then spent maybe a week or so in extended spring training. I made a couple of appearances there before they shipped me out to Peoria. Originally, they told me I'd only make 4-5 starts with Peoria, but Grant Johnson didn't arrive on time and that's why I stayed longer.

Inside The Ivy: You made it up to Double-A last year with the Phillies. How soon before you expect a trip back to that level of competition?

Lee Gwaltney: I was hoping to get up there this year, but I know they're in the playoffs already and that they have their roster set up pretty well. I'm not sure how my contract situation is going to work after this season. My agent implied that he'd wait until the Winter Meetings before we got into that.

Inside The Ivy: Walk us through your repertoire for those in the Cub nation who may be a stranger to this former Phillies prospect.

Lee Gwaltney: I think it changes throughout the season. At the beginning of the year, I felt a lot more force with my fastball; my velocity was 90-93 mph. As the year wears on, I tend to become a sinker baller, because my fastball goes down to 88-91 mph. I have a pretty tight slider, usually between 84-85 mph, and a good changeup and splitfinger.

Inside The Ivy: How much success have you had with the sinker and splitfinger?

Lee Gwaltney: Throwing the sinker, I think I've given up only one flyball all season. When the splitfinger is on, it's probably my best pitch.

Inside The Ivy: Lets switch gears and talk about your background. You were born in Germany and ended up in Texas before going to college in Louisiana, so you've moved around a bit in your life. Did that help you prepare for a career in baseball?

Lee Gwaltney: Yeah, I've lived everywhere. I'd lived in Germany, Taiwan, Ohio, New Mexico and Texas all before I was 11. I've spent most of my life in Texas. Moving around didn't affect me at all. I think it helped me a lot baseball-wise because I'm one who can make friends very quickly.

Inside The Ivy: We understand you originally wanted to play basketball, correct?

Lee Gwaltney: Originally, I had planned to play basketball at Texas Tech. If I had gone straight to Lubbock after high school, Bob Knight would have been there for my junior and senior years.

Inside The Ivy: You played at a junior college in Texas before going to Louisiana Tech for two years. How would you sum up your college career?

Lee Gwaltney: College was a blast. My best friend and I from Texas (Michael Hall, a third baseman) ended up playing baseball there my senior year. Our program didn't win as many games as we wanted to. We were in the WAC, so we got to go to Hawaii. Before that, I went to a junior college, which is actually where I learned how to pitch. I only played baseball my senior year of high school.

Inside The Ivy: You entered the draft four times and were drafted all four times. Tell us about that experience.

Lee Gwaltney: I was first drafted by the Yankees, but ended up going to a junior college where I learned how to perfect my changeup and slider. It was all a great experience. From there I went to Louisiana Tech and signed with the Phillies. My mom really wanted me to finish up my degree. My major was Business Administration.

Inside The Ivy: What do you enjoy doing away from the park?

Lee Gwaltney: I play a lot of golf in the offseason, usually four or five times a week. I grew up on a golf course in Texas, so it was pretty much my nature. I've played Colonial, which is probably 15-20 minutes from my house in Texas, and Tony Richie and I are supposed to play at Sawgress near Jacksonville later.


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