in DC: Clay Hensley Interview

Washington, DC -- We caught up with San Diego Padres pitcher Clay Hensley Friday night, after he shut down the Washington Nationals in an inning and a third, stranding two runners and striking out four.

Clay Hensley, who made the Pacific Coast League All-Star team, was called up to the big club on July 18 and has been used in relief, despite being a starter in Portland and injuries to the San Diego rotation. Hensley's best pitch is a power slider which comes in at the low 90's combined with excellent command of a fastball. A more consistent changeup and the injuries to Rudy Seanez and Chris Hammond are probably the only things that are keeping him out of the rotation.

John Conniff: Are you more comfortable as a starter or relief pitcher, or are you pretty much happy to be doing anything they ask of you right now in the major leagues?

Clay Hensley: That is pretty much what it is, we have some injuries in the pen right now. They said at this point that is where they want me to help them out, and whatever I can do to help out this ball club and get us in the playoffs is what I want to do.

John Conniff: You had a good season at Mobile in 2004, and obviously put together a solid season at Portland this year, but still flew under the radar for most people. Has there been a big change in what you are doing, or are you still really the same pitcher?

Clay Hensley: I think that is what it has been. I didn't come out of a really big Division I school [Lamar] so that may have been the reason. I wasn't a first rounder type guy, so not a lot of hype. I'm pitching the same way now that I have been since I've started playing ball, the rest is just starting to take care of itself.

John Conniff: Your numbers in Portland at first glance aren't that impressive, you had a couple of bad decisions and lack of run support at Portland so you don‘t have a great won-loss record, your strikeout to walk ratio is good, but not great, but the number that really jumps out at you is the number of hits allowed per inning, which is very low.

Do you see yourself as more of a pitcher who is trying to get batters to pound the ball into the ground?

Clay Hensley: I'm just trying to get guys to hit my pitch. I'm not going to get a lot of strikeouts.

John Conniff: So how is life in the major leagues so far?

Clay Hensley: It's really unbelievable, amazing. A dream come true.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send John an email at Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.

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