Q & A with Brandon Nall

The 25-year-old sidearmer enters his first full healthy season after a long bout of rehabilitation on his surgically repaired shoulder. Now on the Binghamton roster, Nall faces the stiffest competition yet. Inside Pitch Magazine caught up with him as his squad was snowed out of yet another game in Akron.

Inside Pitch Magazine: What was your camp like? How would you rate your performance?

Brandon Nall: Camp was great. I had a real good spring training. I did everything I needed to do to get ready for the season. But now with the snow days, everyday, to start the season, it feels like we're going backwards. But in camp, I worked on the release point of my pitches, my slider, and my changeup and get all three of my pitches in the zone.

Inside Pitch: What in your repertoire has progressed and what do you think needs more work?

Nall: I would say last year my slider was my out pitch, so that will be there for me. But now, I am working on developing my changeup and throwing a slider that will go backdoor to left handed hitters. My changeup is coming along real well. I'm getting more confidence, especially throwing it to righties. It was always my pitch to get lefties out.

Inside Pitch: Any counts or situations that still give you trouble?

Nall: Last year I had a lot of innings and appearances and they were all relief. It exposed to me every possible situation I can be in. It's not like I'm watching the game and I see things I can't handle. As a reliever, I take whatever cards I'm given. Whether a guy is a sinkerball, sidearmer, whatever, I'm going out there to get ground balls. No matter what situation I come in, my goal is the same. Get outs, get ground balls.

Inside Pitch: What did the coaches help you work on? What tips did they give you?

Nall: They helped me work on my mechanics and honing in a repeatable delivery. It is big that I get that muscle memory down to where I get the same arm slot and get my body moving towards the plate. The backdoor slider definitely falls in there also.

Inside Pitch: You are now two years removed from surgery. What about the surgery, and the battle back, helped you mentally about your game? What did it teach you about pitching and surviving in the game?

Nall: I learned that my arm is my number one asset and I have to take care of it. Every time now I go out to throw, it's a privilege. I know what it's like to have it hurt when I throw. I don't throw like I used to. I watch every throw and every throwing session. Everything I do with my arm, I think about what I do. I don't throw to just throw anymore. I pitch with a purpose. Overall, I learned how to take care of my arm better. Before surgery, I thought my arm was indestructible and that I could throw everyday and even when my arm was sore.

Inside Pitch: There are other guys in camp, Brett Harper and Corey Coles are examples, who also underwent labrum surgery. Did you talk to them about their experiences and exchange battle stories in regards to rehab and the road back?

Nall: I talked to Corey Coles about it. Generally, anytime I can talk to a guy about labrum surgery and share what I went through, I do. I tell them to hang in there. There were times for me in the comeback process where I thought it was torn again because it hurt like it did before the surgery, but it's all part of the breakdown process. I encouraged him with things like that and told him he could feel same pains and that it's just a hill we all had to get over. In the end he'd be better off.

Inside Pitch: What is the story behind your motion? Was it natural? Did it come out of comfort?

Nall: My junior college coach was (former Met) Mackey Sasser. He had this thing with sidearmers and every year he'd have a sidearm project. I guess that year, I filled his bill. When I came in as a freshman, he dropped me down side arm and I've been doing it ever since.

:Inside Pitch: How do you think it gives you an advantage with hitters?

Nall: At this point, I figure the higher I move up, the less it will psyche out the hitters. In college, people were intimidated by sidearmers. But for the most part, I still have to pitch. It's not like I go out there with silver bullet from the sidearm that people can't handle. I still have to hit spots and change speeds, everything a pitcher does.

Inside Pitch: In college and lower ball you pitched in just about position, starter included. What kind of pitcher do you want to be?

Nall: Honestly, it doesn't matter. I just want to get guys out and give myself the opportunity to be in any role they want to use me. All throughout college I started. I was a closer at LSU. Before I got hurt, I went back to starting. Ever since I've been with the Mets, I've been a middle relief guy and I like that.

Inside Pitch: Joe Smith has drawn comparisons to Chad Bradford. Do you see any of Bradford in yourself in regards to his approach? Is that a fair comparison?

Nall: I'd say it is for the most part. Myself, Joe Smith and Bradford all have things in common. Smith and Bradford dropped down more than I do but we throw all the same pitches, although our pitches do their own thing.

Inside Pitch: What do you hope to accomplish in 2007?

Nall: I just want to make sure I build on last year. I really want to get comfortable with the mound and pitches. I want to get more adjusted to being out there in any situation. Of course, I want to develop my changeup more, throw it for strikes, and use it get guys out. My location is key as the competition gets tougher. I also want to keep developing and using my slider to get lefties out.

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