Q&A with Mark Holliman

Mark Holliman went straight from college to Class High-A ball. He would have been disappointed with anything less.

The Cubs' third-round pick from Ole Miss in last year's draft signed with the organization in late August, but did not make his professional debut since the minor league season was coming to a close.

A native of Germantown, Tenn., Holliman went 8-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 18 starts during his junior season for the Rebels in SEC play.

Q: This is your first full season in the professionals. How are you enjoying life as a Chicago Cubs to this point?

A: Really well. It's been very exciting so far. It's been tough adjusting to the five-day rotation as opposing to the past three years when I've been used to throwing every Friday night. It's a change, but it's becoming easier to handle now. I love it. The whether is always nice here in Florida. Being from Tennessee like I am, it's what I'm used to. The competition is nice out here and you have a lot of guys competing for different spots. There's some great competition in the Florida State League.

Q: Was it somewhat surprising to be sent to Class High-A after not spending any time at all in one of the short-season leagues?

A: A little bit, yes, being that it was my first year out. With that said, I felt like I was ready for the challenge and they did as well. Coming out of spring camp, I would have actually been disappointed not to be sent here, because coming here was one of the goals that I'd set – that I wanted to work hard enough to put myself in a situation to be here instead of (Class Mid-A) Peoria.

Q: Tom Pratt, your pitching coach, had some nice things to say about you. What have the two of you worked on this season?

A: Locating my fastball, keeping it down. We've worked on throwing two of the first three pitches for strikes. Mainly it's keeping the ball down in the zone and being able to make good pitches when I need to.

Q: Has anything changed in your mechanics or your approach since you were drafted?

A: Not especially. I went to "Instructs" last fall, which was the only time I threw for the Cubs last year. Everything we're doing now is really a continuation from that.

Q: What pitches have you been most comfortable throwing this season?

A: Definitely my slider. I've been throwing my fastball really well recently. The other night, I topped out at 92 mph.

Q: The Daytona team got off to a rough start to the season, but has played better recently. How is the team camaraderie, in your opinion?

A: We have a lot of talent and it's good to be around guys like (Sean) Gallagher and (Grant) Johnson, because you can really learn a lot from them by not only watching them throw, but being able to talk to them after their starts. It makes it easier when you go out there yourself.

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