Mid-season Q&A with Randy Wells

There's no substitute for quality pitching, and right-hander Randy Wells has delivered all season with a 2.22 ERA, and 67 strikeouts to 15 walks in 77 innings between West Tenn and Iowa.    

Inside The Ivy: You had less than half a season in Double-A. Was it a surprise when you learned you'd been promoted last month?

Randy Wells: Yeah, it always is a little bit. I thought with the season I was having down at West Tenn, they were going to let me stay there and play in the All-Star Game, then maybe something [promotion-wise] afterward. It was definitely a nice surprise, and I think this is the level I want to be at, at this stage in my career. If I can get these guys out here, you never know what's in store later on this year or next.

Inside The Ivy: Being a former catcher as you were originally in this organization who's now one level below the majors, what do you say to the guys down in Class A – Brandon Taylor, Oscar Bernard – that are trying to undergo the same switch?

Randy Wells: I'd say you have to take everything day by day. You can't do it all in one day. It was tough for me. At the time, I still felt that I could catch, and I still felt that I had a career there. I then looked at it and realized that I knew the organization and all the coaches liked me, and that I had many friends here. If there was something they saw, you really have to trust what they're doing. Once I took that trust, I ran with it and took it step by step. I never tried to do too much in one day.

Inside The Ivy: A lot of times, it's hard to gauge a player's confidence level when something like that happens. How was yours at the time?

Randy Wells: It was tough at first. You go into something totally new, not knowing what to expect or what to really do, and you're kind of lost out there. If you get caught up in the moment, you have to take a step back and realize that you're new at this and that there are not a lot of expectations on you. Do what you can and do the best you can, and hope that it works out well.

Inside The Ivy: Let it never be said that whenever you struggle, it's because of walks. You've said before that making your major league debut is often on your mind. Is the idea of a call-up even more pressing now?

Randy Wells: Yeah, it's always there, but you have to forget about it. If it's going to happen, it will. You just have to keep doing what you're doing where you're at. As far as the walks go, it's something I take a lot of pride in. I hate walking people. I'd much rather give up a hit and I think the only home run I've given up since I got here was on a 3-0 fastball. I knew I had to throw a strike and he hit it out of the ballpark. You take the good with the bad and I'd rather him hit a home run than walk the bases loaded and then give up a hit or worse.

Inside The Ivy: Going from a pitching-dominant league to one more hitter-friendly as you did, have you already noticed the difference?

Randy Wells: Yeah, I felt in my debut that I had some of the best stuff I'd had in awhile. I was spotting my fastball, changeup and was throwing my slider for strikes. If you break down the game, I made three big mistakes and they were all with the slider. The only negative from that start is that I didn't trust myself and my number two and one pitches. I went right to the slider and got burned with it three times.

Inside The Ivy: I noticed you and Alan Dunn were working with the slider a lot in your bullpen session the other day. How is the progress coming along and what are some other things you've worked on here?

Randy Wells: The slider is coming along. It's a pitch I haven't really taken to as well as I have the changeup. But we're working on that and not so much a big break, but a cut movement. We're working a lot of other stuff, too. When I went up to Double-A last year [from Daytona], I struggled a little mentally. I got in a hole and got down on myself. We're just trying to stay positive. I knew I had a bad outing my first time out here, but I'm always itching to get back out after every start.

Inside The Ivy: One of the things I have to ask you – a lot of people have suggested you may be better suited in relief than in a starter's role. What are your thoughts?

Randy Wells: It's whatever the organization wants me to do. I've said before that I was more comfortable out of ‘pen, but now I've had some success in a starting role, so it can go either way. I think I'd be pretty good out of the ‘pen with three quality pitches, but you never know. Whatever they want me to do as long as I get there.

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