Pablo Menchaca ready to roll in 2008

According to insiders, right-hander Pablo Menchaca was on the cusp of having a magical season. He was unhittable during extended spring training in 2007 but injuries derailed what many considered a given – a solid season where he asserted himself as a top prospect.

Nicknamed "Big Chief", Menchaca has such an easy delivery that produces a plus fastball and solid slider. He was back on the mound for the Padres at their fall Instructional League, hoping to meet the higher expectations.

Slated to begin the year in Eugene, he pitched in four games with Fort Wayne during the month of May, getting hit hard in one of those outings – skipping a level after pitching in the Championship game for the AZL Padres the year before.

He was sent down and was named the Opening Day starter for the Emeralds, getting the win with a two-run outing over five innings. It was the last game he pitched during the season.

How do you feel now and do you feel like the 2007 season was a lost year of development?

Pablo Menchaca: I feel a lot stronger. I feel a lot better now. Yes, I felt like this was my year and will have to take that same thinking into next year. I feel a lot – like before I got hurt.

How do you go about moving forward to put the injury behind you?

Pablo Menchaca: I have to keep working hard on my conditioning and rehab and keep strengthening my elbow.

Was there something specific you were working on at the Padres fall Instructional League?

Pablo Menchaca: I was continuing with my rehab to fully recover from my injury and then trying to perfect my changeup.

Talk about the changeup. What is it you were working on with that pitch?

Pablo Menchaca: Right now, I am throwing it too hard and the Padres want me to be easier with it.

How has Dave Rajsich been able to help you get better?

Pablo Menchaca: I have gotten a lot better working with Razor. It was mostly the mechanics that he helped me with.

What would you consider a successful season in 2008?

Pablo Menchaca: Having a successful season would be having a good year without a relapse of my elbow injury.

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