Q&A with David Aardsma

Cubs reliever David Aardsma is getting an extended audition with the major league team after battling back and forth between Chicago and the minor leagues previously this season.

Since Aug. 3, Aardsma has made 16 appearances from the Cubs' bullpen and has a 3.68 ERA in 22 innings, notching 20 strikeouts to five walks.

We visited with the right-hander recently and got his thoughts on his role with the team, the help of veteran relievers Bob Howry and Scott Eyre, his goals through the remainder of the season, and more.

Inside The Ivy: Have the Cubs talked to you about your role with the team both right now and on into next season?

David Aardsma: They haven't really talked to me about it. I guess my role right now is just to pitch whenever they tell me to pitch, whether it's one batter in the 10th inning or in the third inning if our starter goes down. I'm more than happy to fill that need. As far as next year, honestly I'm trying to pitch in as many roles as I can. I want to finish this season off great.

Inside The Ivy: Has their been any thought to going back to closer?

David Aardsma: That's obviously my goal. My goal is to be the closer, that ninth-inning guy that shuts hitters down. But Ryan Dempster is a great closer and it's definitely his role if he does the job.

Inside The Ivy: The last time we talked, you said you were really focusing on the development of your splitter. How much has that pitch developed?

David Aardsma: It's a pitch I've definitely used in a lot more situations now. I'm still a very fastball-oriented pitcher, even in the big leagues. That hasn't really changed a whole lot, but I've been using both the splitfinger and my slider a lot more.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the things you and Larry Rothschild have been working on recently?

David Aardsma: We've worked lately on just taking my time. Sometimes I become a little rush and don't relax, just picking up the ball and throwing it. I've worked on slowing that down and having a good soft toss before every pitch, and just going out and executing my pitches. When I do that, my pitches are a lot better.

Inside The Ivy: Yes, you had mentioned earlier that there was a lot of adrenaline under your belt during your first couple of major league appearances this season. Now that you've had a chance to get into more games, have some of the emotions died down a little bit?

David Aardsma: There's no question. That's really coincided with me having some success, just getting the jitters out of the way. The adrenaline made me go out and throw the ball instead of pitching. Once I got that out of the way, I was able to take the adrenaline and make a positive splash out of it.

Inside The Ivy: Are there any goals you'd like to accomplish before this season ends in less than a month?

David Aardsma: Really what I'm trying to do for the rest of the season is just focus on being consistent. By doing that, I'll be successful with my pitches. I want to go out not trying to change anything or trying to focus on how to make this certain pitch better, because I know where I'm at right now. I like my pitches where they are. Obviously they can improve, but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to execute each pitch where I want. If I keep doing that, I'll have success.

Inside The Ivy: How much have the veterans – Scott Eyre, Bob Howry, Ryan Dempster – taken you under their wing? How much have you learned from watching them pitch?

David Aardsma: There's no way to put a number on it or how to describe how much they've helped me. All the time, they're helping me. It's unbelievable really. Being with Scotty as I was in San Francisco and when Robb Nen was there with Matt Herges and Jim Brower, they helped me out a ton. They got my feet going and got my mind working a little. Being older than I am, these guys have definitely taken it to the next level. All the time, I'm trying to ask Ryan, Scotty or Bob a question and trying to learn a little about a hitter I didn't know about. You ask them, "How do you attack the guy?" They'll tell me, "Here's what I would do." Anything they can do, they've been awesome about helping me out. I'll take anything I can get from them.

Inside The Ivy: Pitching against the Giants, your former team, over the weekend, did it mean anything special to you?

David Aardsma: Definitely. Earlier this year when I pitched against Fresno (Giants' Triple-A team) at Iowa, everyone kind of hyped it up a lot. A lot of my teammates did and I got on the mound and honestly got hit pretty hard. I gave up a walkoff home run, so really I took that outing and had to put it in the back of my mind and say that instead of getting hyped up about facing my old teammates, I'll put it away and in my back pocket. You focus on the job you have to do. If I'm worried about facing my old team, you can't say, "Wow, I'm pitching against Barry Bonds." Otherwise, you're already lost. When the game is over, you talk to them and are excited about enjoying the moment of being with your old friends. On the mound, you can't let any of that take away from the job you're trying to do.

Inside The Ivy: What's the best thing about Chicago as a city so far as you've seen this year?

David Aardsma: I love the city. For one, I walk out my doorsteps and there's everything I could want. If I want to relax, I can go to the park or to the beach. If I want to go out and have some drinks with my friends, there are some great bars and great clubs. If I want to grab a bite to eat, there are some awesome restaurants. You can go out with your girl and have a great time. It's a city where everything you want is right there. Plus, it's not like New York, where you feel kind of trapped. It still has that New York City appeal where everything is there, but you can get out whenever you want.

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