Q&A with Casey Lambert

Left-hander Casey Lambert took another step closer to the big leagues this month when he was promoted to Class AAA Iowa.

Lambert, a sixth round Cubs draft pick from Virginia in 2007, opened the year in an unusual setting for him – the starting rotation. He made 13 starts for Class AA Tennessee, going 5-5 with a respectable 4.05 ERA in 66-plus innings.

But a stint on the DL ultimately resulted in Lambert returning to the relief role that he's more known for, and since then he's earned his first promotion to Triple-A.

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Q: From your perspective, what has the season been like for you, starting at the beginning of the year in Double-A and then going back into relief and getting moved up to Triple-A?

A: It's definitely been a different season than I've ever had — being a starter and then getting back into the bullpen. I think I have done well. I got a little more comfortable when I got back into the bullpen, and I started throwing the ball a little better. But I think all in all, it's been a pretty positive year.

Q: Was it a surprise to you when the Cubs told you they wanted you to go back into the bullpen after they'd worked to stretch you out as a starter?

A: Not really; I had just come off the DL [with elbow soreness] and I kind of figured that maybe they would put me back in the bullpen to take some of the stress off my arm.

Q: Of all the starts you made, and you had some pretty nice outings, what were some things you were able to take from those and now apply to the bullpen?

A: Really it's just the importance of throwing strikes. I think I learned that going out there for five innings at a time, hitters can get themselves out sometimes as long as you give them the opportunity.

Q: Do you feel you also have the ability of going more than one or two innings at a time now in case the Cubs want to use you as a swing man?

A: Yeah, exactly. Now, I've kind of got that experience in my bag in case they ever need something like that out of somebody.

Q: Talk about your team going to Wrigley over the weekend. Was this your first time going to the Cubs' big league park?

A: No, I had been there once before; I went and saw a game when I was playing in Peoria. But it was definitely cool to get to experience a game from on the field. It was a new experience and perspective for me. I didn't get into the game, but it was special just to be on the field during the game and to be part of the introductions and stuff like that. I think everybody that hadn't experienced that before definitely enjoyed it.

Q: Did you find yourself expanding your arsenal when you were starting?

A: Yeah, I pitched a little different when I was a starter. I feel like in the bullpen sometimes, I always face hitters once and I'm able to pitch guys somewhat similar to the next guy in the lineup. As a starter, you kind of have to take each hitter and get a little more creative and think of new ways to get guys out.

The changeup, I can use that in the bullpen when I need that, but I definitely use that a little bit more sparingly. The curveball is definitely still my best pitch. I think once I got back in the bullpen, my curveball has gotten a lot better. When I was starting, I was kind of in more of a pacing myself kind of mode, and I think my curveball was a little bit slower. Now that I'm back in the bullpen, I can let loose and throw it as hard as I can and it's a lot sharper.

Q: There's still a lot of time left between now and September relatively speaking. Do you see yourself pitching well enough at Iowa and maybe putting yourself in a position for a September call-up with all the roster moves they've made between here and Chicago?

A: Well it's always a possibility, but I'm not really too focused on that. I just want to show that I can compete at this level in the short amount of time that I've got left (this season). That's all in somebody else's hands what happens after that.

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