ITI: You had a big year, but as a guy who has never pitched over Double-A, were you surprised you got put on the 40 man?
Sean Marshall: I was a little surprised, but I kind of knew something was going to happen, I knew a lot of teams were interested in me, and I think it's great that the Cubs thought enough of me to protect me. I've been kind of banged up the last couple years, so I haven't really had a full season to show them, but I was glad they had that kind of faith in me.
ITI: What do you throw?
Sean Marshall: My best pitch has been my curveball, but I picked up a pretty good cutter this year too. I started the year off with my go to pitch being the curveball back in April, and I really worked hard to master my change up, and then really started working with the cut fastball, so now I have four pretty good pitches.
ITI: Isn't it almost mandatory for lefties to throw that cutter now?
Sean Marshall: It's a great pitch, and I have had a lot of success with it, because it starts off looking like a good hard fastball, and there's just a little change in velocity and a lot of movement, so it's been really effective.
ITI: When did you pick that up?
Sean Marshall: I've always kind of fooled around with it, I learned it way back when I was like 10 or 11 years old from an instructor I had back in Virginia, and this year I just decided I was really going to work on it and add it to my arsenal, and it's worked out really well.
ITI: You missed some more time this year, was that just more rehab from the torn tendon, or something else?
Sean Marshall: I went on the DL at the end of July, and it was just a little tendonitis in my shoulder. We thought it would just be a week or so, but it didn't heal as fast as the trainers and I would have liked.
ITI: Are you worried you're going to get tagged with that 'injury prone' label?
Sean Marshall: It doesn't really bother me, because I don't think the Cubs see it that way, and I know what's going on. I think everything happens for a reason, and a lot of these injuries have just been little or freak things. It was unfortunate that I tore the tendon back in '04, but it's not something that's reoccurring, it was a freak thing, and I came back, got some innings in, and that ultimately was positive. This year I think I was just so anxious to get out there and pitch and have a good year that I just overworked myself a little, but I had some pretty good success, a pretty good season overall, so I was happy with my year.
ITI: You tore the tendon in the AFL, is it harder to deal with an injury like that in what is essentially a developmental league?
Sean Marshall: Actually I hurt the tendon in June of '04, when I was in Double-A, and it healed up, but I just tried to come back a little too soon, and the last week and a half of the AFL season I felt a little irritation, and nobody wanted it to get worse, so we just shut it down. It didn't really do any more damage, but that's why we shut it down, so it wouldn't, so I wouldn't mess it up any more.
ITI: How was the AFL experience for you? A lot of pitchers say it's almost not worth the effort.
Sean Marshall: For me it was great. I got some time in during the 2004 AFL, and because I'd missed some time it gave me an opportunity to really settle in, and for me it was great to face those hitters, some of the guys who really stood out in the league. I learned a little something from the pitching coaches, they really worked a lot with me, and I just sort of look at it like I'm going to be playing against a lot of those guys for the next five and hopefully 10 years, so I should start to get to know them now.
ITI: You've flown through the system, which isn't all that rare for a college guy, at what point do you think the minor leagues finally caught up to you?
Sean Marshall: In College I really got to face some good teams and some great players, and when I got to the pros I kind of rolled through Lansing really well. I learned a lot there, but I did sort of feel like I was ahead of the guys I was playing against. When I first got to Double-A it was a little bumpy at first, but there was a lot I needed to learn.
ITI: Like what?
Sean Marshall: The biggest thing was throwing inside. I know it sounds weird to have to learn to do that, but it's something you just can't do against aluminum bats, and that's the level where I felt like all the players were the quality and better of a team like an LSU, that is just great up and down the order
ITI: What's the offseason workout plan look like?
Sean Marshall: Just getting after it, you know. I want to come into spring in the best shape of my life. I've got a personal trainer, and we're going to really work. I've always been tall and pretty lean, so I'll hit the weights a little, but nothing drastic. I'll see the Cubs for the first time next month, and they might give me some specific things they want me to work on then, but for now I'm sort of on my own, and I don't mind that. I know my body, and I know what I need to do to be in top form.