John Madden on the rebound

Peoria, AZ- John Madden was on the fast track in the San Diego Padres system. After a dynamite 2006, the right-hander stumbled through a forgettable 2007. He is looking towards a rebound year this year.

You struggled early in the year, got injured and never seemed to come back to full strength. Do you chalk last year up to a learning experience after having a great year in 2006?

John Madden: Yea, definitely. It was a learning experience. I was just trying to fight through the injury halfway through the season and coming back from that – staying positive.

What lessons did you learn from that experience?

John Madden: Mostly staying positive. For a while, I let myself get down. I was depressed after the injury and not getting up there and getting the work done. I want to be positive going out there and I worked on that all off-season.

I am still working on getting back to where I was.

That sounds easier said than done. How easy is it to not allow the pressure to get to you after giving up some runs?

John Madden: That is one of the things I hadn't been doing. I did poorly. I didn't have a great year all of last season and started off a little rough in Spring Training. Like I said, I worked on that all off-season and even now am staying positive. Once you hit the showers – that is it. You have to go out the next day and toe the slab and get it done.

You mentioned getting back to where you were. Where were you and how far away are you?

John Madden: In Fort Wayne I felt pretty confident with both my fastball and sliders. I felt like I could throw both pitches in any count to any batter to my strengths and not pitch to any batter's weaknesses. I haven't felt that way in a while and I am getting back there every day, step by step.

I had a real constructive bullpen session and I feel like I will be ready for when we break camp and the season begins. Hopefully I will be able to make a team.

This is the time of year you can often work on things – is there something you are working on mechanically?

John Madden: Finding those pitches again – making them sharper. Getting back to how they used to be – the old way. I am trying to find that and remember what it felt like and repeat that over and over again so I can get that repeatable delivery and repeatable mechanics which ultimately will give you repeatable pitches – the ones you want to throw.

As a guy who drops down a bit in your delivery, it is difficult to get that consistent arm slot and release point. There are a couple of guys here who are similar – do you guys get together and talk? Is there a band of you guys?

John Madden: They call us "Thumbers" because we are always throwing stuff up there and trying to get them on the thumbs with the batters.

Everyone talks to guys that are similar to them when they are having troubles and I have talked to guys and asked them advice – even guys who don't throw like that because they are out there every day and see you. They all help and we help each other.

What is going to make for a successful 2008 season for John Madden?

John Madden: Wherever I end up – break in with a team, start from there and do the best I can every day. Obviously, the big picture is the big leagues – that is where every day you have to shoot for, one pitch at a time and one inning at a time.

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