The Interview Room: Dirk Hayhurst

Last year started off quite the same for Dirk Hayhurst.  Well, not exactly the same as he ran off a stretch of 20 innings without allowing a run.  "I figured I had all those expectations to do it again so I go out and screw that all up in my first outing," he said with a laugh.  "Get that off my shoulders."

What the right-hander is referring to is yielding a run in his first outing of the year.

  But the road to that outing is what took a different road.  After his scoreless streak last year with the Fort Wayne Wizards, Hayhurst moved into the starting rotation.

  After a successful season, he was projected to again take the mound at the start of games instead of in the middle of them.

  The offseason preparation was geared towards the long haul.  Over the course of a full season, the weather, the constant grind will wear a player down.

  "I actually worked out a little too hard this offseason.  I ended up getting a little arthritis in my shoulder from doing crazy stuff with a rubber band gym.  The weights are held with rubber bands and I am (insert your favorite grunting sound). It probably wasn't one of the smartest things to do in retrospect."

  Especially since all the work went for naught.  Hayhurst ended up in the Lake Elsinore Storm bullpen, despite continuing his starter's mentality through spring training.

  "The initial thought was, ‘what did I do wrong?  How did I get back here again?'"

  Hayhurst, always a visionary, put things in perspective.  He had shown he could be successful out of the pen in the past and with a plethora of starters, it was natural for them to move the guy with experience back to the middle/long relief role.

  And in the pen, Hayhurst bares all.

  "You can come out of the pen and throw all of your nasty stuff.  Then sneak away and they don't get to see enough of you.  I hold true to that.  That is what I try and do now.  Get my guys out of a jam and then retreat."

  Retreats are his nature.  Not from the challenge of the California League but Dirk Hayhurst is a man of faith.  He lives life knowing that God is on his side and will guide his steps.

  There will be moments where the rain pours down, even in California, but the sunshine helps him realize that his dreams are close if he can stay the course.

  One of the goals he established early on was making it to the Southern League and Double-A baseball.  While the ultimate goal is reaching the Big Leagues, Hayhurst put forth something reachable.

  "I can at least tell people, ‘Hey, I could have been a Big Leaguer.'  Mobile would be a great opportunity, if nothing else to say I met one of my goals."

  Although he has a 5.09 ERA in 16 appearances this year, he has limited the opposition to a .225 batting average this year.  His first goal is within reach and should he finish the first half strong it may be realized.


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