Q&A with Casey Coleman

Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Casey Coleman didn't envision being at Double-A less than a year after he was drafted in the 15th round from Florida Gulf Coast College. Now that he is, the right-hander has turned in several quality starts and has posted three wins and a 3.65 ERA in seven starts.

Q: Can you talk about the start you've gotten off to at Double-A? Are you pleased with how you've pitched being that you've moved so quickly?

A: Definitely. I never would have thought about being in Double-A at this point in my career. My goal for this year was to eventually make it up to Daytona at some point this season. I'm very pleased with how I've pitched for the most part. I think I need to be more consistent with my starts and go deeper into ballgames, but so far I can't complain because my main job is to keep our team in the game, and it seems like every game I've pitched, we have had a chance to win.

Q: How has the development of your cutter gone? You talked about how your dad was working on the pitch with you back in the off-season.

A: I haven't thrown it yet. Whenever I play catch in between starts, I mess around with it. I just haven't gotten comfortable enough with it to throw it in a game. It's actually more like a slider, and I think it can be a good pitch. I just need to get more consistent with it in bullpens before I use it in the game because right now I've been throwing my curveball well, and throwing it at different speeds, which has helped. So I haven't felt the need to throw it.

Q: What pitches have really been 'on' for you in your starts and which have you been working on the most?

A: My fastball has been good for the most part. I throw a sinker, so as long as I throw strikes, I've been getting a lot of groundballs, which is key since we have a really good defense. In my good outings, I pitched to contact and got quite a few groundouts. In my bad outings, my ball was up in the zone, and as a starter, you have to be able to throw three pitches all for strikes. So far, I've been able to throw a changeup and curveball over the plate.

Q: I noticed that the left-handers have had a little bit better luck against you than the righties. Is that just one of those things?

A: Well, my thing in the past was I was great against lefties and struggled a bit against righties. So I switched from the first base side of the rubber to the third base side, and lately after talking with our pitching coach, Dennis Lewallyn. He says he wants me to move back and forth depending on the batter as long as I feel comfortable. That's something I'm going to work on this coming week, so I hope my numbers versus lefties will get better.

Q: Most all of the Tennessee starters have been good this year and I think you guys are the youngest club in the Southern League. Is that something that Ryne Sandberg has talked about with the team?

A: He knows we're a very young team. He hasn't mentioned it because at this level, we have to be more mature in order to compete day in and day out. He believes in everyone on the team and it shows. He knows we are younger and have more energy than all the teams in the league. He just talks to us about staying focused and competing every day.

Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season? You talked earlier about being more consistent, but is there anything outside of that? I believe one of the things you said in the off-season was you wanted to gain more arm strength and size.

A: Yeah, my goal is to just keep doing what I'm doing and stay up here in Double-A. This is a great team to be on with the coaches and players. I've been sick recently, which set me back a little. I was real congested and had an ear infection and possibly strep throat, but I got an antibiotic that knocked it out of my system pretty quick. I've been trying to get in the gym and eat as healthy as possible every day. Other than that, I'm happy to be here, but in this game you can never be satisfied until you've reached the ultimate goal, which is the big leagues. So I'm going to keep working hard like everyone else on this team and hope to keep giving my team a chance to win when I take the mound and let the rest take care of itself.

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