Padres Prospect Interview: Corey Kluber

There is little that fazes Corey Kluber. His temperament on the mound and off is similar and the Padres believe he is just touching the surface of his ability.

You signed a little late, it took a bit to get going, you get going, and then it is the end of the year. When you look back, did it meet your expectations?

Corey Kluber: I think it was a good year for me. It took a little while to get going but once I did get going I felt like I got into a good groove. It was good to get acclimated.

You start off in Eugene and then end up in Lake Elsinore for the playoff run. That has to be exciting and surprising.

Corey Kluber: I thought my season was over when I made that last start and the day after (Eugene manager Greg) Riddoch told me I was going up there. It is always exciting when you get moved up – plus to be going to the playoffs was a great atmosphere to be a part of.

You go out to Instructs. Was there a specific purpose that either you or the Padres had in mind?

Corey Kluber: Polishing up mechanics and pitches to make me a better all-around pitcher. There wasn't one huge thing to work on – just a lot of small things with mechanics or certain pitches to make me a better pitcher.

When you say polishing up mechanics – what are those small things?

Corey Kluber: Trying to use my back side more to get a little bit more behind (the ball) and save my arm a little more.

I also worked on my changeup. My changeup was a really good pitch for me in college that I lost the feel for. They made us throw the change down there and that is good because I got the feel back for it. It will be a good pitch for me again.

Is it kind of odd that you will lose the feel for a pitch that you have been throwing for however many years?

Corey Kluber: Yeah, especially the changeup because you have to have the feel for it and trust it. You can't just make it do what you want but trust that it will. I think anytime you take a break and come back you want to see what the pitch does instead of trusting it and that is once thing (Mike Couchee) Couch and I talked about, ‘Let the hitter tell you what the pitch does. Don't try and see it with your eyes.'

You seem to have an even-keel approach. You don't get too high and don't get too low.

Corey Kluber: I have always been that way. I am not really wearing my emotions on my sleeve like some guys. I don't know – it is always how I have approached it.

Is there a good and a bad to that?

Corey Kluber: I think it is good because I don't let the situation affect me. For the most part I do a good job of not getting rattled in the middle of the game. That is good in the long run.

What does the rest of the off-season hold for you with Instructs over?

Corey Kluber: Take a while off of throwing and let my arm rest and get some strength back. I will hit the conditioning and weights hard. Next year will be a longer year so I have to make sure I am in good shape to handle the grind.

Did you feel it down the stretch?

Corey Kluber: The last couple of starts in Eugene were good but my body started wearing down at the end and on through when I got to Lake Elsinore. Not throwing as much in Instructs gave my body a chance to recover and that is why things were good there.

What is the learning curve going to be like? You had a long season when you put your college season and professional campaign together. When do you do too much in the off-season where it hinders you?

Corey Kluber: If you look at last year I threw close to 120 innings in college and another 50 or so before I started breaking down. That is probably about a typical season. I have a pretty good feel, an idea of what it takes. Since I started to wear down at the end, I will do a little more conditioning and strength wise to keep built up for that stretch run.

Do you expect your pitches to be crisper when you get back to Spring? We are talking about you being tired and perhaps the rest will add two MPH or whatever.

Corey Kluber: Yeah, when you look at me during the middle of the college season and as a professional there was a difference. My slider was sharper then. I had a little more on my fastball. That is a result of being a little tired. That has helped me as well; it made me work on spotting my pitches. Hopefully next year I come back with that better stuff and more of an understanding of pitching that I got this year will make for a good combination.

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