Padres Prospect Interview: Matt Buschmann

San Diego Padres prospect Matt Buschmann adjusted his workout program this off-season to be better prepared for the grind of the long season. He also learned some valuable lessons last year that he hopes to carry into 2008 – pitching inside with more consistency and maintaining confidence in his changeup.

What was the off-season like and what did you hope to accomplish?

Matt Buschmann: It was good. I think being the second off-season I was able to make some adjustments from the first – in regards to my workouts and my throwing.

I had a lot more confidence in what I was doing to prepare for this year. It was understanding where my arm needed to be coming into spring training, knowing when to start throwing, knowing when to throw pens, knowing how ready you really have to be, especially after last year.

I knew I could come in and use spring training to get ready a little more. That first spring, everyone is coming in and trying to impress people a little more. You have been through that whole thing so you can relax a little bit and not be so tense.

Was there something specific you wanted to work on when you got into spring training?

Matt Buschmann: Building off what I had last year, keeping with the confidence I had towards the end of the year – and, as always, the changeup. Getting that to the point where I can throw it whenever I need to and having the confidence to throw it.

How is that ‘feel' pitch coming along – it is a little bit different from the success you have with the fastball and slider.

Matt Buschmann: It is. I think the biggest thing is getting into game situations. You throw bullpens and as much as you think you are throwing it as hard as you can, you are not. I think the first time you get the adrenaline going and get hitters in there, you get a real good feel for where you are at and where you need to get to.

You get to the point where you are ready for the season.

You missed out on the playoffs last year and ended up losing out on a Championship. How long did the injury linger?

Matt Buschmann: It was pretty minor when we did it and more of a precautionary thing. I got back and took a month off and began throwing in late October. It was four weeks or so and that was a test run before I shut it down again. In December I started ramping it up again and didn't feel anything.

Left-handers were able to hit you last season more than right-handers. Is there a specific pitch you need to improve to combat those southpaws?

Matt Buschmann: I think a lot of that had to with being without my changeup for a little while last year, or at least not having the confidence I wanted to in it. I think this year, being able to really pound inside and backing them off the plate a little so it gives me some room to let my two-seamer work and let the changeup work.

That is the big thing – not being afraid to go inside against those guys and opening up the outer half of the plate to allow my arm side run do its thing.

In the past, have you worried about that run where you throw inside and it does not run back?

Matt Buschmann: A lot of it is because I throw across my body, I get worried throwing inside to lefties – before. This year, I have been confident in it and it is working out pretty well. If I can get that pitch down to them – it is both sides of the plate and not just one side of the plate.

What is going to make for a successful 2008 season for Matt Buschmann?

Matt Buschmann: For me it is going to where I go and being confident. Fastball command – that is what was successful for me last year. Keeping with that and my strengths and preparation – keeping with all those things through the season and not having that downward spiral we had last May. I will take one month I guess.

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