Randy Wells: On paper, it was a pretty good year. I was cruising for a little and had the arm injury, if you want to call it that. I wouldn't call it an injury; it just flared up a little. I came back a little rusty and lost a couple of games. I had a bad August that tainted my numbers a little, but that stuff is going to happen with the great hitters in this league. Overall, it was a pretty good year, at least a respectable year for my first year in Triple-A. I'm pretty happy with it. I wish the record was a little nicer and the ERA a little lower, but sometimes you're going to have those years. I'm happy. The ole cliché is not how you start, its how you finish. I had a pretty brutal August, but in this case you could say that April, May, June and July kind of made up for it.
Inside The Ivy: You mentioned the "injury." What can you tell us about it?
Randy Wells: Well, I consider an injury something that requires surgery. That's how I think of it. When you miss a couple of starts with a little soreness or flare-up, I don't consider it an injury. It's a long season. Pitching is stressful on your arm and you have to do what you can to pitch through it, and I did. I pitched through a lot of soreness and a lot of pain. I didn't want somebody to come up and take my job. There are a lot of people that were throwing well below me. I knew I was having a pretty good year and if I could pitch through it, I was going to. Whenever it got unbearable or I felt I couldn't give 100 percent, I said something. That's all it was. I wouldn't call it an injury. Routine soreness turned into a little irritation, but no structural damage or surgery obviously.
Inside The Ivy: How much did pitching through the pain alter your mechanics?
Randy Wells: As I took some time off, it not so much altered them as it made me a little sloppy. I wasn't routine and didn't work on my mechanics every day. I didn't keep my windup and my stretch fluid. Once I got the OK to throw, I came back and caught a couple of bad habits. My release point was different. The results were pretty good my last two or three starts and I have some positive things to take out of it and build on toward next year.
Inside The Ivy: Now that we're in September, are you disappointed by not getting a call-up?
Randy Wells: I can't lie. It's something you work all season for. You're not in the minor leagues to play in the minor leagues. Everyone knows that, whether you're a career minor leaguer or have been in the majors and just got sent down. Nobody wants to be in the minor leagues. You play the game to get to the big leagues and that's what I've done from day one in camp up until today. When you come up short, you're a little upset. I don't know what the whole story is behind it – if I didn't do enough, but whatever it was, it didn't happen. You can't dwell on it. You never know when your time is going to come. You don't want to get a bad attitude about it or just stop working. It's a tough thing to get to the big leagues. The day you stop working is the day you call it quits yourself. You can't stop working and you can't stop believing. Once you do, they either write you off or you write yourself off.
Inside The Ivy: What was it like saying goodbye to all of the guys in the clubhouse and on the bus heading back from Omaha?
Randy Wells: It was a lot different than in years past. These last couple of years, I've been with guys I was pretty familiar with – guys that have always been in this organization. This time was a little different. You've got guys that are a little older and more mature; guys with families and a little big league experience. It was kind of weird, a little somber. You tell guys, "Hopefully I'll see you," but you never know. That's one thing about Triple-A. Guys come and go and sign with new organizations looking for a chance. There were guys I didn't know if I'd see again or play with again. It's been good. I'm glad I met the people I met and played with the guys I played with. The guys I won't be around next year, I'll miss. We had some good times and a lot of good people were on the team this year.
Inside The Ivy: What does your off-season hold in store? I'm guessing with all the innings logged and the flare-up, you won't be playing Winter Ball.
Randy Wells: Right now, I'm just going to take it home, relax for a couple of weeks and figure out what kind of job I'm going to work this off-season. I'll get back at it and start working out and get ready for next year.
Inside The Ivy: Last off-season, we understand you did some beer delivery. Anything similar in the works this year?
Randy Wells: (laughs) Well, the last couple of years, I've worked out and tried to stay in shape. I think eating healthy and trying to drop a little weight just to get my body in shape for the grind is important. I think maybe that had a little something to do with the fatigue I went through this year; I wasn't prepared to be a starter all year. I went into Spring Training as a reliever and at the end of camp, they said I was going to start. Boom. They threw me into it, so I think I'm going to prepare for that a little more. I'm going to run a lot more and do more shoulder and arm exercises just to get my body in the best shape possible going into the spring and preparing for the impact of starting. If I end up not starting, I'll be in that much better shape just relieving.
Inside The Ivy: Being a big Illini fan as yourself, I know our Illinois boosters will appreciate your thoughts on this year's team--
Randy Wells: 1-0, baby!
Inside The Ivy: I always have to ask about the Illini since we all know Fox is a big Michigan backer ...
Randy Wells: Yeah, tell him Illinois is going to beat Michigan AND win the Big Ten this year!