Q&A with Chris Huseby

Cubs pitching prospect Chris Huseby isn't worried about living up to the hype of a $1.3 million signing bonus just yet.

The 19-year-old Huseby, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound right-hander from Martin County (Fla.) High School, is simply focused on the task of staying healthy.

Huseby underwent Tommy John surgery in his junior season of high school and after receiving the largest signing bonus ever for an 11th-round selection, he would make six starts in the Arizona Rookie League in 2006.

His velocity was back in the mid-90s with the Mesa team according to Cubs Player Development Director Oneri Fleita, who saw Huseby in an Aug. 20 start against the Texas Rangers' rookie squad.

We caught up with Huseby this spring to get an update on his first Minor League Spring Training, his recovery from "Tommy John," what he hopes to accomplish in 2007 and more.

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How is your elbow holding up this spring?

It's holding up real well. I haven't had any arm problems right now.

How about velocity? The Cubs said last year that you were back in the mid-90s.

I don't sit there with the gun, so I just go by what people tell me. If they say they have me on the gun at 90 to 95 (mph), that's what it is. My arm strength seems like it's getting back up there.

Just before you underwent Tommy John surgery, can you describe the moment you first felt something was amiss?

I threw a pitch and I felt something. I didn't think much of it, although it felt like hell at the time. I kept pitching and the next day it was a little swollen. I wasn't really concerned, but then a week later I threw another game. After that game, my arm was all swelled up and I couldn't bend or straighten it so that's when I knew.

What have you had to cut back on since the operation?

I'm just trying to build my arm strength back up right now, but I've kind of cut back on going 100 percent all the time. It's more nice and easy.

We know where everyone else expects to see you pitch this season, but where do you see yourself in '07?

With my situation, I'm sure I'll stay here in ‘Extended' and then go to Boise; if I go to Peoria, then great. I just want to take it slow and work my way back in nice and easy. This will be my first full season so I'm just looking forward to that and to getting some innings in.

Given your signing bonus and the publicity surrounding that, do you feel any added pressure to live up to any expectations?

I don't feel like there's any pressure, no. They know what I can do; they saw it. The bonus I got is what they felt I deserved, so now it's time to go out and do my job.

Do you tend to favor one pitch in your repertoire (power fastball, power curveball, changeup) over another?

I like to use my fastball for location. As for the secondary pitch, it's definitely the curveball. My changeup I'll usually mix in a few times a game, but it's pretty much fastball and curveball. I throw the curveball hard with that 12 to 6 break on it and just let it go.

What goals do you have for your first full year back from surgery?

Just to stay healthy and contribute to my team; keep getting better; keep getting my arm strength back and continue to get back to 100 percent.

What are some things you're working on right now in Minor League Spring Training?

Pretty much just PFP's right now. It's a lot of team-oriented stuff. We do a long-toss and we're throwing bullpens pretty much every other day.

At this point post-surgery, are you satisfied with where you're at?

Yeah, I'm satisfied with where I'm at after the surgery and everything, but I still want to continue to get better at what I'm doing and succeed.

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