Isenberg out to prove himself

Selected in the minor league phase of the rule 5 draft, Kurt Isenberg has been put in a new role. Trying to impress his new team, there is a certain amount of pressure to perform. The left-hander is hoping to make a good impression while bringing more consistency with his off-speed pitches.

Talk about being selected by the Padres in the Rule 5 Draft – was it a surprise?

Kurt Isenberg: Actually it was. I didn't even know anything about it. I got a call in the middle of December and it said I was heading over to the Padres.

It was exciting. It was good to hear that news. I am happy to be here.

When you say you are happy to be here – this is a fresh start but you have to have some pressure in trying to impress these guys?

Kurt Isenberg: Coming in – I had been with Toronto and this would have been my fifth year with them. Coming over here is a whole new place and I don't really know anyone. I am trying to turn some heads in whatever game I get in to make a good impression. Really that is all I am trying to do.

You were a two-way player in college – do you feel like you still have a lot of room for growth?

Kurt Isenberg: Right now I feel like I have a pretty good idea of my gameplan and what kind of pitcher I am. Now it is to the point of fine tuning those things.

I am still working on consistency with the changeup, which over here they preach highly. I know what I can do and what I can't – I am not going to blow by people. I am just trying to fine tune the changeup.

Can you see the differences between the Padres and Blue Jays organization?

Kurt Isenberg: The philosophies are pretty similar – getting hitters out with three pitches or less. Pitching philosophies are the same no matter where you go. You want to get guys out early, control the running game, stuff like that. It is a little better – the atmosphere here is nice. It is laid back.

Talk about your pitches and what speeds you throw them at.

Kurt Isenberg: I throw a fastball, curveball, slider and a changeup. The fastball, during the game, is 87-90 and hitting 90 a couple of times on a good day. I am more of a control guy, fastball/changeup. And if I am ahead in the count I will throw the slider, which I just developed in the last couple of years so I am still working on that as an out pitch.

Is it tough to come in with four pitches? It seems like it is so tough to make the curveball and slider solid pitches when you have to concentrate on both.

Kurt Isenberg: That is another thing. When I was with Toronto, I was a starter for the four years over there and coming over here I don't really know quite what my role is going to be.

If you are coming out of the pen you might only need two pitches, sinker/slider or something like that. As a starter, I used all four pitches. I might be in certain situations where I threw a curveball early in the count and the slider deeper in the count, as a put-away pitch. The curveball is more of a ‘get-me-over' pitch. I try and work all four of them in as best as I can. Throwing one inning at a time I might only use a couple of them.

When I throw my flat grounds and bullpens I try and keep them all pretty consistent.

What is going to be a successful 2008 season for Kurt Isenberg?

Kurt Isenberg: If I can have a better outcome against left-handed hitters I would be happy. I don't know why I struggled with that last year so much but if I could get those guys out a little more often.

Does that come down to pitch sequencing?

Kurt Isenberg: It could have something to do with that and maybe just keeping the ball down a little bit better. I don't know. That is what I am focusing on. I have always had success against righties and throw my changeup a lot – maybe throwing my changeup more to lefties.

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