Padres Interview: Chris Oxspring

We sat down with Chris Oxspring, the hero of Australia's Silver Medal winning Olympic team in 2004 and one of the more intriguing Padres' prospects. After a few up and down months in Portland this year, "Ox" seemingly found his stride in August going 5-0 in six starts with a 2.14 ERA...and made his Major League debut on Friday

August was easily Chris' best month where he held batters to a .192 batting average and only allowed 28 hits in 42 innings.

Deservingly, he has been promoted to the Major Leagues and made his debut with the Padres on Friday night. He tossed 5.1 innings allowing six runs, five earned, on five hits and three walks while striking out seven.

We caught up with Chris after one of his better outings of the year, a seven inning complete game shutout (makeup games in the minor league are two seven inning double headers).

John Conniff: Last night you pitched one of your better games all season, a seven inning complete game shutout. Your manager Chris Colburn said that you have pitched better this year than your numbers indicate, the whole key for you is to have success after the first inning.

What is the key for you to do well as compared to having a bad outing?

Chris Oxspring: Well for me the secret is getting through the first two or three innings. I've really struggled in the first two innings in my bad outings. If I can get through those two innings, I seem to get into a rhythm out there and tends to take me though the game.

John Conniff: Have you thought of altering your bullpen preparation?

Chris Oxspring: It could be that, unfortunately I haven't been able to find out exactly what it is. I think between being too intense and being too relaxed, you need to find a middle ground, which I've been trying to do.

John Conniff: Whenever you read the prospect reports they always mention you as someone who is capable of starting or relieving, what do you feel more comfortable doing?

Chris Oxspring: When I originally started playing baseball I was always a relief pitcher, because I was so new to the game. I think short stints helped me, and once I got used to starting, I also became familiar with the rhythm of the game. So I think I'm pretty comfortable doing either one.

John Conniff: How did someone from Australia, with your talent of throwing a baseball, not become a cricket player?

Chris Oxspring: I've always played baseball ever since I was four years old, my older brother played, so he got me involved in it that way. I played cricket in school, but never seriously like baseball.

John Conniff: How popular is baseball in Australia?

Chris Oxspring: It's pretty popular, simply because it's new. A lot of kids don't want to go out and play football [soccer] or cricket, so they want something new and baseball seems to be what they catch onto. However, it's difficult to pursue it past a certain level, without coming to the states.

John Conniff: How high up do the leagues go in Australia? Is their about the equivalent of our high school leagues?

Chris Oxspring: Its comparable, they do play it in some high schools, but not very many. They do play it in colleges, but it is also a small amount. You play baseball in your local cities, and maybe for your states, but it gets more difficult to play as you get older.

John Conniff: How did you get signed by the Padres?

Chris Oxspring: I came over here to play in the Independent Leagues. I went to a tryout camp and the Padres liked what they saw, and they signed me.

John Conniff: What types of pitches do you throw?

Chris Oxspring: I throw the two fastballs, two seam and four seamers, curveball and changeup.

John Conniff: What has been the biggest improvement that you have seen in yourself from this year to last?

Chris Oxspring: This year, obviously staying healthy for the whole year. Last year I got hurt early in the year. I've been working with controlling my emotions better on the mound and not being so intense. Its definitely made things a lot easier being a little more relaxed, it's just a matter of relaxing and letting things fly.

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