Q & A: Jon Huber

InsidethePark.com's first visit with newly acquired starting pitcher Jon Huber. Received in return for veteran Dave Hansen, Huber is riding out his second tour int he California League and takes a 9-6 record into Friday night's action. Check out what Huber had to say about his new team, and his first outing as a 66er hurler.

InsidethePark.com: Welcome to the Seattle Organization. What was your initial reaction to the trade?

John Huber: I was surprised. My coaches told me that it was a real good trade for me. It's always good to be traded for a major leaguer. I was excited about having a new start with a new organization. It's nice to see that another organization saw what I can do and have trust in me.

ITP: The strange part about the trade is that you were traded within the California League. How does that feel to be wearing a uniform that you formally were against?

JH: It's a little different. It's a bit weird to have played against these guys and now be in the same dugout backing each other up. It's definitely different. It really would have been strange to have to play Lake Elsinore (the Padres single-A team), but luckily we don't play them again.

ITP: When you were with Lake Elsinore, the 66ers gave you a hard time and you had a 1-2 record against them. Who was the toughest out you had to get against the Sixers?

JH: Gary Harris always gave me problems and Jesus Guzman was a thorn in my side also. I always tried not to let them bet me.

ITP: You made your debut a week ago in a relief stint. In four and two thirds innings, you struck out 10 Rancho Cucamonga batters. How did you feel your performance went?

JH: I felt good out there. I was excited to get out there and get the first appearance out of the way. I'm glad it went well, especially when I had some extra nerves pitching for a new team.

ITP: What do have in your arsenal and you do you try to use them?

JH: I've got a fastball, curve, slide, and changeup, in that order. I mostly am a power pitcher and I'll use my fastball to get ahead in the count. Then I'll finish them off with the breaking ball. The slider is a new pitch for me this year. I like it a lot because I've been able to throw it for a strike. Because of that I'll use it sometimes on the first pitch to throw off a hitter. Also for whatever reason when I am able to spot my slider, it gives me more confidence in my fastball and I'm able to spot that better as well.

ITP: This is your first full year in the Cal League, second overall. In what ways have you matured as a pitcher?

JH: There has been a big difference, especially with my mental approach to the game. In Elsinore, the pitching coach early in the year asked me what my game plan was going into a start. I never really had one before, other than just go out there and throw. So he started to give me game plans on how to pitch opponents and stick with it no matter what. I went out to the mound with it and it has given me something to focus on mentally, other than the negatives. Now I am more and more confident before each start I make.

ITP: How would you like to finish this year for yourself?

JH: I just want to keep on doing well, mainly by keeping my team in the game. I would love to get a promotion and see what Double-A is like. I'd also love to make the playoffs and win the championship here. I think we have team that is very capable of winning it all. This team is based around pitching, which definitely helps win ball games around the playoffs. It will be fun.

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