Q&A: Sean Morgan Returns to Starter's Role

Sean Morgan made his first start in over two years Saturday night. A 4th-round draft choice in 2007, Morgan struggled with command and injury as a Yakima reliever, but showed promise early on with the Silver Hawks. He's added two pitches to his repertoire and stretched out his arm with some longer bullpen outings. Morgan considers his start a success, barring one mistake.

Sean Morgan went 22-11 with six saves in his three-year collegiate career, with his final two seasons spent as a starting pitcher.  He looked even better in high school.  As a professional, Morgan had a tougher time, until this season.  Morgan compiled scoreless relief outings of 1.0, 2.0, and 4.1 innings before making his first professional start on Saturday.

Morgan cruised through his first two innings before loading the bases in the third.  He let one run score via a wild pitch and two more cross home on a Jason Christian single up the middle before inducing an inning-ending double play.  Although he left the game trailing by three runs, his teammates picked him up in a dramatic come-from-behind victory, so Morgan did not factor in the decision.

The notion of putting Morgan into the rotation is one the Arizona Diamondbacks have been kicking around for a while.  Though Morgan may yet wind up as a bullpen arm, the D-backs wanted to give him more innings this year to compensate for time he lost to injury in 2008. 

FutureBacks.com: So how did you like being on the mound for a start once again?

Sean Morgan: Definitely different.  I think just preparation-wise, it was different.  Once I got on the mound, I felt good.  I was able to locate the ball in and out.  I wish I could have one pitch back, but that's my only complaint of the day.  Otherwise, it was good.

FB: Is it different than going multiple-innings in a bullpen stint like you did in your last outing?

SM: I think it is.  It's a different mindset when you come out of the pen.  You can't really ease into it; you've got to get your 1-2-3, 1-2-3.  I think starting, you have a little more room for error.  Not much but I think it's easier to get comfortable into a game starting.

FB:  I noticed you dropping a few curveballs tonight, probably more than you normally do as a reliever, right?

SM: Yeah, I think I may have thrown one all year out of the pen.  I threw a few today.  I felt good, like I can throw all pitches, and I think that's something that's going to help down the line.

FB: Are you developing a changeup as well?

SM: Yeah, I have a changeup.  It's something I added last year, and I threw quite a few today.  I felt pretty good.  I'm starting to get more confident with it, which is only going to help.

FB: Do you feel like you can throw harder throwing just one inning than when you're throwing multiple innings?

SM: Yeah, I just try to just stay consistent, because what I've found is that the harder you try and throw, the less precise you are.  I think that out of the bullpen you do throw a little bit harder with the adrenaline pumping and everything else going on.

FB: With all the success you had at Tulane, was it frustrating spending two years at Short-Season Ball?

SM: Oh, the first year was a learning experience.  The second year, after the injury, I was just happy to be able to get on the mound and stay healthy all year.  It only helped me to get where I am now.

FB: Do you think that because you've been through a lot, you can take on a mentorship role with some of the younger guys on the squad?

SM: Yeah, I hope that I could be a person that someone could come talk to.  We've got some good guys on this team; a couple of older guys as well.  Everyone seems to just mesh together.  So definitely, I could take on that kind of role.

FB: Was there anyone who did that for you your first year, sort of took you under his wing?

SM: Yeah, you know, it's weird 'cause we were all the same age.  Jason Neighborgall, who's no longer with us, really took me under his wing.  He struggled, but he was a great guy.  He gave me a lot of pointers on how to deal with being on the road, and all that.  Bryant Thompson was the same kind of way.  He just showed me the ropes and told me what to expect.  Unfortunately, they're not with us anymore, but hopefully they're succeeding in whatever else they're doing.

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