Padres Prospect Interview: Matt Teague

Eugene, OR-- Two spot starts in Portland spanning nine innings produced zero runs against. Two outings in Eugene skewed his Northwest League numbers. Matt Teague can call his professional debut quite successful.

Talk to me about the comfort level on the mound for you.

Matt Teague: I am feeling good every time I get up there. I don't feel quite as strong as I did during the (college) season. I think I am gradually getting back towards that. I feel real good control-wise with all my pitches.

Is it tough to regain that steam you had back in March pitching for your college team now that we are so late in the season?

Matt Teague: I am trying to do the same things I did back then to keep the strength as good as it was in college. I can see it coming back piece by piece.

Is that a velocity standpoint or movement that we are talking about?

Matt Teague: It is velocity. My movement is still there. It is just velocity. It doesn't matter how hard it is as long as I spot the pitch.

What kind of information have you been able to glean from the coaching staff that maybe you did not receive in college?

Matt Teague: Their experience level; we did not have anyone who played at the highest levels. They just know how things are done and I have gained some experience from them – talking to them and learning what they have gone through.

Is there anything specific you can point to where you say, ‘I hadn't thought of that before.'

Matt Teague: I am sure there are many things. I think the big thing is sitting in the dugout and asking what pitch to throw in a certain time. It might be a little different than what I heard before. I think they know how to read a hitter a lot better than some of the people I have heard before. That helps out a lot with them showing me how to read a hitter.

How much have did you grow from your freshman year till now?

Matt Teague: I always dreamed it but I never thought I would be here today.

What do you feel like you have to work on to continue to go up the ladder and prove you belong in a place like Portland – where you made two spot starts – for good?

Matt Teague: Continue to build my off-speed pitches like I am doing right now. Continue to work on those and be able to throw them anytime in the count – I think that will really help me out and will help me reach the higher levels, being able to throw all three pitches for strikes.

Is that a confidence issue or are there mechanical things you want to change?

Matt Teague: Little tweaks. My slider right now needs to be six inches lower on a certain count and I need to concentrate on working on that a little more.

Which fastball, the four-seam or two-seam do you find yourself going to more often?

Matt Teague: The two-seam. I get a lot more movement going away from a right-hander.

When you look back on a game, are you more happy with 15 ground outs or 15 fly outs?

Matt Teague: It really doesn't matter to me. I mainly look back on the base on balls and how much I have gotten ahead of people. That is what I am focusing on. How much I fell behind and how often I worked ahead.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, what are the expectations?

Matt Teague: I have been ok right now. I think build on what I have been doing. When the season is over I can look back and say I really developed those two off-speed pitches, my changeup and slider. I can hopefully walk away from here and say I can throw those in any count, or at least one.

How difficult was it coming in relief versus starting during the piggyback process?

Matt Teague: It was a little bit different. In school you had five or six days of rest and you were getting only three and pitching on the fourth day. That was a little different. I guess it evens out because I was not throwing as many pitches as I was in school.

Coming in relief is not that bad since I was not coming in with people on base. I did not have to get into the relief kind of mode too much. You still come in during the middle of the game but it is like you are starting too. I try and take it that the game is 0-0 and you want to keep the zeroes going on your side.

Looking ahead to the off-season, how do you build up the stamina and have the velocity your missing today for what will likely be full season ball?

Matt Teague: I have been throwing ever since September and am but a couple weeks from throwing for a whole year. This off-season, I won't start throwing like I did in September because the season doesn't start until February. I want start throwing till a couple of minutes later. I had to throw in fall ball too and I won't have to do that in November. That will allow me to have some of the strength at the end of the year.

Talk to me about throwing to guys like Justin Pickett and Luis Martinez – two guys who seemed to be your primary catchers early in the year.

Matt Teague: They do real well. They receive the ball well and all have great arms so you don't worry too much about runners stealing. I have a lot of confidence in them and they have a real good understanding of hitters to and know the approach we want to use.

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