Padres Prospect Interview: Richie Daigle

LAKE ELSINORE-- Richie Daigle hadn't pitched above Rookie ball in Arizona. He had just 25 innings under his belt. An opportunity arose this season and he made it up to Lake Elsinore. It could have been temporary but the right-hander has pitched his way into sticking with the California League club.

Talk about the difference between extended spring training and the California League.

Richie Daigle: It is a lot different. It is a good different.

Extended is a little different. They don't have crowds. It is more basic. I was working on various things, working on the changeup a lot, working on fastball command and location. I was also working on various mechanical things but I felt pretty good with all those things. Everything can get a little better, that is for sure.

How was Dave Rajsich able to help you out in the desert?

Richie Daigle: He has helped me out a lot. Him and Wally (Whitehurst) both have gave me pointers here and there to keep me on track and various ways to take speed off my changeup.

What has been the key to your success this year – and I had heard you didn't walk a batter in extended spring training before coming up.

Richie Daigle: I try to throw strikes and try to go right after people and I want to be the aggressor on the mound, the one in control and command. I try to carry that mentality out there and try not to pitch around people by going after them and challenging them. I have had success with that so far.

How did you prepare this off-season, considering you started some games for the Arizona Rookie Padres last year? Did you know you would end up in the pen?

Richie Daigle: I didn't know. I just wanted to work as hard as I could. This off-season I worked as a waiter and worked out hard every day, running a lot. I wanted to be in the best condition I possibly could to be ready for anything. I didn't want that to be any reason for not playing well or not having success so I tried to be in the best shape possible coming in. So far it is working all right.

Your fastball has regained its velocity from last year and now sits 92-93. Were you just exhausted last year?

Richie Daigle: I have always felt I have been around that area. In the summer last year it was near the end of the year and I was pitching all year so my arm was tired. Once again, I got in real good shape and am feeling good on the mound.

You talked a little bit about the differences – but how does it differ in the locker room and in the game?

Richie Daigle: Everything is a little more professional. People go about their business - it is hard to explain - more laid back but more focused. People know the purpose of what they are trying to do. It makes it harder to get hitters out since they are not swinging at everything. At the same time on our side, we are not just throwing it all over the place. Everything is a little bit closer towards getting to the top.

Did you have any doubt that you could succeed here?

Richie Daigle: I don't try and look at it too much like that. I want to feel like I belong here. I am supposed to be here at this moment in my life. One more step. Not where I ultimately want to be but it is a step.

What happens if they do decide to send you back to Peoria?

Richie Daigle: It happens. For whatever reason if I go back there you just have to work that much harder to get back. You are still playing baseball and it will take care of itself. I can only control what I can control and the rest will fall in place.

How has your family supported you through the rigors of trying to become a major league baseball player?

Richie Daigle: My dad and my mom have always stood behind me and stayed positive in everything. Family and friends back home - it feels great to hear from them and that kind of support rolls back to you and it is part of what drives you.

I think my dad is proud of me already but to please them for everything they have done for me is quite an honor.

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