Q&A with Jose Ceda

DAYTONA BEACH – Kangaroo Court has charged Jose Ceda $10 for his eating habits, which involve asking a young kid at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter to buy him ice cream.

Kangaroo Court, for those who don't know, is the self-governing judicial system of the Class-A Daytona Cubs. Daytona shortstop Darwin Barney plays judge and first baseman Russ Canzler acts as the Sheriff arresting convicted players.

Others act out key roles, too, and punish within the team for things like fumbling a play, goofing around in the clubhouse, not wearing the right hat to batting practice, or acting out on the field.

For Ceda, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound pitcher, eating a lot is normal for a man of his size. Not only that, but at age 21 he's got some more growing to do.

Ceda was born in Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic, and was signed as a non-drafted free agent by San Diego. The Cubs acquired him at the trading deadline in 2006 for Todd Walker and cash considerations. He currently holds a 4.86 ERA over 46.1 innings pitched, but has held right-handers to a mere .177 average.

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Q: What do you miss about the Dominican Republic?

A: I miss my family; my grandmother especially and my mother, too.

Q: Would you say she's your biggest influence right now?

A. Yes, she's been there for me through everything.

Q: Is everyone in your family this tall?

A: Yes.

Q: Even your grandmother?

A: Yes, she's like 6'2 or 6'3.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment for you coming to the States?

A: It really took awhile to understand the language. I only came here in 2005 from the Dominican, and I had to learn quickly. I had most of the language understood by 2006.

Q: You're near the top of the team in strikeouts (40). Is that something you focus on when you pitch or is it something that comes naturally?

A: Yeah, it's really not that big of a deal. I'm not focused on that. I'm trying to get consistent in the strike zone more and more with every outing.

Q: What pitches are you working on right now?

A: I've been working a lot on my changeup, but mostly on my fastball location. I get in a lot of trouble with that, so I'm trying to work on getting consistent in my location.

Q: What do you think about your future role here: starter or a closer?

A: My future here is to be a reliever, and in Chicago it's the same. They want me to be a reliever.

Q: Are you concerned about losing any weight? I know you've tried to lose weight in the past.

A: Yes, it's definitely something I'm worried about. Chicago has mentioned it to me. I'm trying to work out my lower back and my knee as well while I continue to work out to better fulfill my position.

Q: Since you've been in the states, who has helped you the most?

A: I would have to say our pitching coach here with the Cubs, Rosey [David Rosario], and my scout, Felix Francisco, from the Dominican Scout Assignment because he helped me for months with trying to get me over here to play.

Q: Did you play when you were a kid?

A: Yeah, I played third base, but I was really fat and lazy and then I told them I wanted to go to the mound. I wanted to pitch.

Q: Who's your favorite baseball player in the majors right now?

A: I grew up in the same town as him, he's in rehab right now, Pedro Martinez. He's rehabbing in St. Lucie right now. He grew up in the same town as I did.

Q: What about David Ortiz?

A: Hah, someone told me I looked like him. He's not a pitcher, though, so that's why I like Pedro a lot.

Q: Are you guys close? Have you ever talked to these guys?

A: I've never spoken to Ortiz, even though we are from the same country. I have spoken to Pedro; he's a good person.

Q: What's your favorite food here in the states?

A: I love going to Wendy's. Last year I did a great job in Peoria and I go to Double-A and the first thing I asked somebody was to go to Wendy's because I wanted a hamburger with bacon.

Q: Has your family come to watch you play yet in the U.S.?

A: Well I'd like to get my mother here, my grandmother and my girlfriend, too. Not this year, though. Maybe next year.

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