Interview with Padres Prospect Tim Stauffer

<i>LAKE ELSINORE</i> --- As the San Diego Padres first round pick in the 2003 draft, Tim Stauffer has been highly regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in San Diego. Starting in Lake Elsinore this year, Stauffer had an ERA of 1.78 before being promoted to Mobile on May 12, 2004.

But it has not been easy for Stauffer who had to go through some tough times in his early career. After experiencing a weakness in his shoulder joint caused by fatigue and wear, Stauffer decided to tell the Padres organization about his injury knowing that it would cost him over a million dollars in his signing bonus. This decision has made him a popular man in San Diego because of his honesty and integrity. Fans are able to see someone who can look past the money and play for the respect of his fans.

I had the chance to speak with Tim Stauffer about his progression this season after rehabbing for most of last year.

After going through your rehab how are you feeling?

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling a little better after each start and feeling a little more stronger and comfortable."

Back in Richmond you were known for going deep into games, do you feel you are on your way back to that so far this season?

"Yeah, I mean, just throwing strikes and letting guys put the ball in play. Last time out I felt a lot better about being able to do that, and once the season gets going the pitch count will go up a little bit. I'm just going out there trying to get some quick innings and complete games."

How excited were you to come to the San Diego organization knowing that there is a good chance to climb through the system fairly fast with all the young pitchers up there already?

"Pretty excited. It's a very good situation to be in. It's a good organization that is up and coming with a new ballpark. With everyone who I've met so far up in the front office and staff they are all pretty good, and I really like where I am right now."

You've got to be happy with the future of this Padre pitching staff with Peavy and Eaton already there, you coming up soon, and a possibility of Jeff Weaver there too.

"Yeah, I've had a chance to watch those guys play a couple games and hang out with them in spring training. They are both real good guys and I'm looking forward to it."

How was your spring training experience?

"I had a good time. I was in big league camp for about three weeks and then we moved back down to the team we were going to be playing with. It was a good time."

Now that you are in professional ball, are you glad you decided to go to college and play instead of going straight from high school?

"Oh yeah definitely. Without a doubt. You just learn a lot even outside of baseball just kind of growing up and maturing. Now it's been three years and it's a good time for me to get started. I got to get an education and mature a little bit on my own."

Some have called you a strikeout pitcher and some have compared you to the likes of Greg Maddux. What type of pitcher do you see yourself as?

"I'd say in college it is a lot easier to get strikeouts. But in pro ball I think I'm just going to try to be a control guy who gets some good movement and gets some quick innings. I think I have enough stuff that if I need a strikeout I would be able to get it, but I wouldn't say I go up there each time trying to strike a guy out, you are just wasting pitches that way. But I would say I'm a little of both."

What's the biggest difference between college and the pros besides the competition level?

"Just the everyday grind. You are out here playing 6-7 days a week and you are at the ballpark 8-9 hours a day. You have to have a set routine and know what to do each day, get it done, and do it right."

Stauffer now with the Mobile team in AA is continuing his pace through the Padres organization, and you can expect to see him in the Major Leagues in a short amount of time.

Matt Johnson can be reached at Johnson@sandiegosports.net

MadFriars Top Stories