Q & A with LHP Sam Hays

Hays was the Mariners' fourth-round pick in 2000 out of Waco, TX, but he was also the team's first selection of the day. Seattle lost the rights to their first three picks due to the acquisitions of several free agents. Hays was 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA at Peoria in 2001, then missed all of 2002 with shoulder surgery. He's healthy again, 12 months after going under the knife, and hoping to make a splash at Everett this season.

InsidethePark.com: How'd you feel making your return to the field after missing all of 2002?

Sam Hays: It was a short outing (two batters). It was shorter than what I expected. I didn't really have time to think about it when I was out there. But it was just good to get back out there. I've thrown a lot out there on the side, but it was just nice to get back to the park in front of fans. It's a whole different atmosphere.


ITP.com: Does the shoulder feel alright?

SH: The shoulder feels good. It still has got a ways to go to where I want it to be, but I can't complain right now. It feels good.


ITP.com: You were throwing in the low 80's in your first outing of the 2003. Has the injury affected your velocity, and how hard did you throw before it occurred?

SH: I like to think I can get up to the high 80's to 90. My velocity is not there right now. But right now I'm just trying to compete with what I have. If that's what I have, then that's what I'm going to have to work with.


ITP.com: What pitches do you throw?

SH: I throw a fastball, a curveball and a changeup. Probably my best pitch is my two-seam fastball. I try to get it down and force guys to hit the ball on the ground.


ITP.com: How frustrating was last season, being unable to pitch?

SH: It was pretty frustrating to be out for the whole year. I got hurt at spring training and had a tear in my rotator cuff. I had a choice to rehab it or go into surgery, and I chose to rehab it for about four months. It didn't get better, so I had surgery last June. Once I had surgery I felt like I was kind of over the hill, and then for a while I felt like I was kind of in no-mans land. Pitching this year can't ever be as bad as what happened last year, so it's just good to get back out in front of some fans and play for a real team.


ITP.com: Did you feel any added pressure being the Mariners first selection in the 2000 draft, even if you were a fourth-rounder?

SH: I felt some pressure, but there's not really much I can do. I don't know why I've had the slow start to my career that I've had. I've just got to put it behind me and not analyze it to much and go from here.


ITP.com: Was there anyone in particular who helped you through the tough times?

SH: The staff here has been real supportive. They tell you not to get frustrated, but it's tough some times thinking about how you've got a long way to go. Once you start getting back working in the right direction, it gets a lot easier.


ITP.com: What are your goals for 2003?

SH: My goals are to stay healthy and throw a lot of innings. That's the goal for this year. Obviously I'd like to do well, but the main thing is to throw a lot of innings and stay healthy. Then hopefully come out next year and show something.


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