Jamison confident heading into 2008

Neil Jamison has his command back and is working on a consistent arm slot. Those two traits served him well in 2006 – but he lost both for spells last year. The confidence is up and Jamison has opened the year with three scoreless innings.

You had a few tough stretches nestled in between some very good stretches – could you pinpoint where some of the troubles came from?

Neil Jamison: I just think it was command – not throwing strikes and getting behind in counts. At that level, you get behind and have to throw a fastball and they know it is coming. Most of the time it is going to get hit.

The walks also didn't help. I think getting the command back. The month of May was brutal. I put together a good stretch but at the end I struggled a little too. I think that was more fatigue than anything. I turned it around a little bit but got tired at the end and my arm slot got lower.

I am working on staying on top of the ball and throwing more strikes.

How difficult is it to keep that arm slot consistent over the course of a year?

Neil Jamison: It is tough. Being lower, you can be a touch low and could be under the ball. You really have to stay on top of the ball. I tried to stay a little higher than usual in the off-season so if I do fatigue and it gets a little lower than it falls into the right slot instead of being under the ball. We will see how it goes.

What kind of lessons did you learn about yourself last year?

Neil Jamison: Just being able to bounce back. I haven't had a stretch like that where I got hit around consistently for nine or 10 outings in a row. It wears on you. You lose confidence and fall behind. You don't want to throw the ball in the zone because every time you do someone is hitting it off the wall.

It is one of those things where you have to be confident, throw good pitches and let your defense work for you.

How difficult was it not to fall into the mental trap of being down on yourself? You dug yourself out, which is a good thing.

Neil Jamison: It was tough. Every outing you are telling yourself, ‘this is where it ends.' When it doesn't you go back home and it is ‘when is this going to end?' You have to try and find the middle ground of realizing what you did wrong and at the same time telling yourself that you have to fix it and get it done as quick as possible.

You went out to the Arizona Fall League at the end of the year. How was that experience?

Neil Jamison: It was a good experience. Off the field it was great to be around all those players. It was a great experience playing against those players and a great learning experience.

As far as throwing – I had a little arm trouble and wore down a little bit so that didn't go quite as well as I would have liked but the experience as a whole was a good experience.

One of the things you have been known for is having success with inherited runners – is there a different mental mindset you have when you come in with men already on base?

Neil Jamison: When you come in with guys on base you know you have to make pitches right away. There is no getting a feel. That is how it is when you come in in the ninth inning. You don't have room for error. You don't have time to find a rhythm; you have to have it right when you get in the game.

When you come in with guys on base, you want to pick that guy up. It works both ways – you want someone to pick you up if you come out of the game and there are two guys on. Go in there and try and get guys out.

What is going to be a successful 2008 season for Neil Jamison?

Neil Jamison: I think just bouncing back and throwing strikes, not walking as many guys and falling behind in counts. I think if I do that I can have a good season.

I am trying to command the two-seamer a little better. This is only the second year I have been throwing it. Trying to find a more consistent release to command it a little better and bring the changeup along as well. We will see where that goes.

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