Having won 25 games the past two years (as well as the Cubs award for Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2005) and gotten a half a season at Double-A under his belt in 2006, Gallagher garnered his first career invitation to Big League Spring Training camp earlier this year. He was still none too surprised to be headed back to Double-A to begin the 2007 season.
Overall this season, Gallagher says he hasn't been particularly happy with how he's fared against Southern League hitters.
But are his feelings about to change? The 21-year-old believes something clicked in his most recent outing.
Q: Were you surprised to be starting the year in Double-A considering you had a strong showing here last year?
A: Not really. I knew coming in this year that my chances of coming back here were going to be pretty good. I mean, it's all according to what guys are signed, who will be coming down from the major leagues and things like that, but it was really all in me trying to figure out where I wanted to come pitch my game and just being able to have a strong showing wherever that was.
Q: What was the experience of pitching in big league camp like this spring?
A: It was fun. It was definitely an eye-opening experience. I wish more guys had the opportunity to do it. It was stressful, but it was good for me to be able to come out and compete with guys with their skills. Being able to come here and use that experience has really helped me.
Q: What was the good and bad of Spring Training and what did you work on regarding your pitches?
A: I just worked on being a lot more consistent; being able to locate a pitch where I wanted to. I worked on mechanics a lot more and (with) consistency on everything to get to a point where you can repeat it pitch after pitch after pitch, so that there will be repetition and you won't have to think about the mechanics of it after awhile.
Q: Are you happy with where you are with your pitching this season?
A: Not really. I'm not really happy with it at all. I think by the second inning (on Thursday) it clicked and I actually found my niche to where I feel comfortable in my pitching. I just struggle on finding my balance point, so I need to work on the mechanics to know where I need to be for the pitch. Since it finally clicked (Thursday), hopefully it will continue for the rest of the season.
Q: How do you keep yourself focused while pitching a game that may not be going as well as you would have hoped?
A: Well you just have to go out there with control of your pitches and know that it is all about getting the job done. You have to constantly think about the mistakes of the last pitch and try to correct them for the next, and you don't have a chance to really be focused on anything except the pitches and how you can correct them to help win the game.
Q: What do you make of this team you're on now?
A: The whole team has heart. Every one of these guys wants to be here. We have such a great group. We all love to have fun, and we all want to come to the game and do whatever we can to hopefully come out with a win.