Q&A with Andrew Cashner

After a successful season between Class High-A Daytona and Class AA Tennessee, top Cubs pitching prospect Andrew Cashner has taken his game to the Arizona Fall League against some of the minor leagues' best talent.

Cashner, the Cubs' first-round pick from T.C.U. in 2008, was 3-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 24 starts this past season, divided up equally between the Florida State and Southern League's. He has made five starts in the Arizona Fall League, allowing eight runs in 16 2/3 innings for a 4.32 ERA, and 16 strikeouts to four walks.

We visited with the 23-year-old Cashner this week and got his thoughts on the Fall League, his 2009 season as a whole, and more.

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Q: In the Fall League, you're starting and only going a couple, three, at most four innings. Does that get frustrating after awhile?

A: Yeah, I mean, it's just one of those things where you're near the end of the season and there's been a whole lot of wear and tear already. It's been frustrating, don't get me wrong, but it's also been nice knowing you're going out and only throwing 40 or 50 pitches versus 80. It's somewhat nice, but it's also frustrating at the same time. I had two good outings in a row where I threw 45 to 49 (pitches). I felt good and wanted to go back out, but at the same time, it's pretty late in the season and I understand.

Q: Having your pitching coach from Tennessee, Dennis Lewallyn, serve as your pitching coach with the Mesa Solar Sox has to give you some kind of safety net I'd imagine. How much of an influence has he been?

A: It's been real nice for me just because he got to see me in Tennessee and he's been able to help me out quite a bit. He knows my strengths and weaknesses, and it's been something that's really good for me because I've been able to grow in different areas and still keep working on what I was working on in the regular season.

Q: In that respect, how have you grown and what are some of the things you worked on in the season that you've been able to carry over to the Fall League?

A: The big thing is fastball command and not walking guys, and really challenging hitters and attacking them early. Getting ahead of guys is really what I've been trying to do. (Also), locate my breaking ball for a strike and I think I've been able to do that. I've had two bad outings out here. (Wednesday) I didn't throw that well, but I just made two bad pitches.

Q: You touched on your fastball command and your breaking ball just now. How has the work gone with your off-speed pitches?

A: I've come a long way this year with my changeup. It's become a pitch that I feel I can throw at any time in any count. I think it's been a real reliable pitch for me since I've been out here. It's one of those things where when you get a guy in a 2-0 count or a 3-1 count against a big power hitter, it's nice to throw something else up there when you know he's going to be swinging for the fence.

Q: Obviously, you were happy to get the call-up to Double-A in the second half of the season. Thinking ahead to next year, is Double-A where you see yourself starting 2010?

A: Yeah, I think that I'll start there, but at the same time I hope to be fighting for a spot in spring training because I'm going to come in there ready to go.

Q: It's football season and I have to ask you about your alma mater, T.C.U., ranked fourth in the B.C.S. this week. How excited are you?

A: I'm pretty excited about it. If you haven't been to the internet, check out the new (uniforms) they're wearing this week. They're pretty cool. The pants look like frog scales. They're going to be nice. Hopefully it's an interesting game this weekend and hopefully they pull it out (against Utah) and we'll see what happens in the end. (ESPN's) ‘College Gameday' is going to Fort Worth this weekend.

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