Padres Prospect Interview: Mike Ekstrom

Goaded many times with tough questions, Mike Ekstrom remained cool and collected – similar to his 2005 season where he went 13-6 for the Fort Wayne Wizards, the Padres Low-A Midwest League affiliate.

Highlights form the season:

Mike Ekstrom: Clinching the playoffs in the first half was good. There were a lot of fans there so that was cool. Pitching in Comerica Park, even though we lost, was a good time.

What happened in June:

Mike Ekstrom: When June came around, we went on a road trip and I gave up – my ERA doubled I think. After that road trip, I had to figure some things out and kind of refocus and try to get it going in the other direction. Then I had a couple good starts and got it rolling and got back to what I'd been doing good at the beginning of the year.

Did you start thinking about a promotion at all in June and was what happened on that road trip related at all?

Mike Ekstrom: When we were going to the All-Star Game - me, Clayton and Luke – we figured… Luke already knew he was going up and we were all happy for him because he didn't really deserve to be there in the first place. It was on our minds, but you couldn't really think about it too much or get disappointed if you didn't get moved.

When it didn't happen for you and Clayton did go up, was it on your mind at all?

Mike Ekstrom: At the time, he had a little better numbers than me and he was coming off a good outing, so he deserved it. After we lost him and Kolkhorst and all those guys, it was an uphill fight for the rest of the year.

The last two starts were tough. Was that fatigue?

Mike Ekstrom: Yeah, I'd say I got a little bit tired at the end of the year. My velocity was down and I wasn't keeping the ball down and that's pretty much a bad conversation. I threw about 190 innings in 2004 and this year, I threw probably about the same with spring training, so next year I've got to figure a way to make myself last a full year.

What was the reason for not going out to instructs?

Mike Ekstrom: They told me it probably wasn't looking like I going out to instructs because I'd thrown so many innings. [They thought] it'd be best that I got some time off and that was fine with me.

What are you doing in the offseason?

Mike Ekstrom: Right now I'm working on a farm, driving a tractor. I live on a nursery farm. I'm just trying to help out. I'll probably be floating between here and San Diego a little bit. That's where I went to college.

As you look toward next year, what are your goals for yourself?

Mike Ekstrom: I want to make all my starts again and I'd like to average six innings a start. That was kind of a goal for this year. You can't really control promotions- I've figured that out – so just have a quality year regardless of where I'm at and I just want to keep building on what I've already done. Just keep moving forward.

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