Q: What's your objective entering minor league camp?
A: I think everyone's objective, including mine, is to make it through camp healthy and make a team. I really hope to do that and if I could break with Iowa that would be awesome. I've worked hard this off-season on refining my off-speed pitches, and I think that's what I needed to do.
Q: Do you feel you've proven everything you needed to prove at Double-A?
A: That was last year. I could go out and pitch bad this year and last year wouldn't mean much. I think everyone would agree that you have to keep improving yourself every year. I think last year, I showed that I could compete and be successful at that level, for sure.
Q: Do you feel 100 percent comfortable in the relief role now that you've been doing it for a while?
A: Last year was really the first year that I was full bullpen. I think I started to get the hang of it and I think this off-season I prepared differently than I have in the past just because last year, by August, I just kind of lost my legs down the stretch. I was in great shape, but I just think it was different being in the ‘pen. I'm excited to be in the bullpen because I feel like I've figured it out. … I think everyone gets a jolt of adrenaline rush when you get moved up; it's exciting. I think any time I was feeling tired, I got into a game and it was kind of like a new setting and a new challenge.
Q: You mentioned working on your off-speed stuff. How has that process gone?
A: I think Coach (Dennis) Lewallyn, he actually hates the way I throw. I threw my slider off of my index finger rather than my middle finger. When I got up to Triple-A, Lewallyn showed me some stuff before I left and then Coach (Mike) Mason showed me some other things and we worked on throwing off the middle finger. I was throwing two sliders, one off of one finger because I'm comfortable with it, and continually working on the one off of my middle finger. I think the middle finger, that slider I can throw it harder and have a better break. I'm just trying to make that one as consistent as I feel right now off of my index finger.
Q: There was still some question as to your repertoire this time a year ago. What are you throwing now, what have you taken out or put back in, etc.?
A: The biggest thing was last year I kind of figured out what kind of pitcher I was going to be out of the ‘pen. Along with the slider, I started throwing a split. When I was in Tampa, they converted everyone to curveball and changeup. I think now I've been able to get back to a slider and split. When I first came over (in '07), I was still trying to throw a changeup. I'm throwing a slider and then a split-finger. … I just started throwing [the split] last year. I was kind of having trouble with the changeup and when I went to Iowa, Mike Mason asked me if I'd ever thrown one, which I had, so he gave me the green light.
Q: How fast are you right now?
A: I think I had more velocity the first year I came over, but last year my velocity was getting better. I had days where I would maybe touch 92, 93 (mph). I think it could be better this year, being back to where I was in college. In college, I was 92, 93 and 94. If I'm out of the ‘pen, I would hope that I can hold that.
Q: What was the off-season like for you? You were slated to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but that kind of fell through.
A: I don't know the whole deal, but I got asked to go and then some things got changed around. I'm not necessarily sure what happened. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I got a couple extra months to get some rest and to start working out for this year. It was all right because I had a wedding and then I graduated school and it gave me the opportunity to do some other things. It was a great offseason and I feel good.
Q: How much momentum does last season give you entering camp this year?
A: I'm more confident coming into camp this year than I think have been. I think coming into camp last year, I was not as confident as this year. I had a very bad year between Double-A and Daytona the year I got traded. Last year, I gained a bunch of confidence back and I just feel like I'm 25 and I have started to feel what my body is doing. I think Lewallyn and Mason both did a great job in helping people try to feel where your body is at. I just feel confident because I feel I can start to repeat some things now.