Siegfried Excited about Starting

After spending most of his debut professional season in the bullpen, left-hander Chris Siegfried is ready to give the starting rotation a try. The left-hander, selected by the Cubs in the 11th round of the draft a year ago, was assigned to Class-A Peoria earlier this week.

A season ago, Siegfried made 23 appearances in relief between Peoria and Class Low-A Boise, posting a 3.83 ERA in 42 1/3 innings.

The Cubs weren't entirely sure of Siegfried's long-term role when they drafted him, but they may have a clearer idea now. The southpaw is set to rejoin Peoria for the start of 2008, only this time he expects to do his pitching in the starting rotation.

"I felt pretty good after they told me," said the 22-year-old Siegfried. "That kind of gave me a little confidence boost. I'm pretty excited to start, and not just as a spot starter."

Siegfried came to the Cubs with just three starts under his belt from his college days with the University of Portland. He began to get adapted to starting last fall in the Instructional League in Arizona, and Chicago confirmed near the end of minor league camp this spring that they planned to use him in the rotation for 2008.

"Now I'm looking forward to starting the season off right," he said.

Although he was using the Instructional League to get into the routine of a five-day schedule in between starts, Siegfried also focused on honing his pitches.

He spent a good amount of time working to develop his changeup, thus giving him a third pitch to complement his fastball (anywhere from 88-93 mph) and curveball.

"I feel it's pretty good," Siegfried said of the changeup. "(Pitching coach) Tom Pratt has helped me make sure that I'm being consistent with my arm slot, and that really helped to make it look like a fastball coming out of my hand."

Instructs also provided Siegfried with the chance to focus on just one thing at a time.

"I remember games where I wasn't allowed to throw a curveball," he recalled. "(Then), when I was throwing over in Scottsdale to the Giants' instructional team, I threw (about) 35 pitches and 31 of them were fastballs, and the other ones were curveballs. They really force you to work on the things that you need to work on."

Siegfried is hoping to take that work and put it to good use in the Midwest League. The Oregon native describes himself as a goal-oriented person, and he has a few broad ones that he'd like to achieve in his first full season with the Cubs.

"One of my goals is to make the All-Star team and move on up to Daytona before the season is over," Siegfried said. "I think everyone wants to make an all-star team and move forward. Nobody wants to stay in one place for too long.

"I think goals are important to set" he added. "If you don't set goals, you're just kind of going with the flow and not really trying to strive for anything."

As for how he plans to achieve his goals, Siegfried says that it all starts by having a set routine, like the one he got accustomed to in Instructs and spring camp.

"Whether it's a good outing or a bad outing, I'm just trying to stick to a routine and workout regime that will keep me healthy and on schedule," he said. "I think that will correlate with how I'm able to pitch."

See also: Peoria Chiefs Opening Day Roster

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