Padres Prospect Interview Richie Daigle

LAKE ELSINORE, CA- After getting a year under his belt as a starter, Richie Daigle is back in relief mode. The experience made him better as he is still young in his transition to the mound, and Daigle is one of the few pitchers in the San Diego Padres system still using a slitter.

You got a full season under your belt as a starter – what did you learn about yourself along the way?

Richie Daigle: Starting is a little different – you gain experience. The more experience you get in anything, the more you learn about whatever it is. The pitches got better, I learned more about the game, I learned the nuances – the small things, stuff that is hard to explain.

It appeared that lefties were able to see the ball better off you in 2007 – are you searching for a pitch that will move away from them more?

Richie Daigle: I think early on I didn't throw my slider enough to left-handers. The more I started throwing that pitch to left-handers, the more success I had against them. I think that is something I did in the second half of last season and was able to have more success because of that reason. Throwing all your pitches to all hitters, regardless.

As a former position player, does that give you any edge since you kind of know what the hitter is thinking when he steps up to bat?

Richie Daigle: At times, I can think like a hitter. Being able to draw upon that and sit in their shoes, I can know what they are thinking or expecting or anticipating. It allows you to work around that. It gives me an idea of what may be going through their minds. That is probably the biggest thing.

How much more room is there for you to grow as a pitcher?

Richie Daigle: There is always room to grow. It is not like growing where your body just stops after a while. As long as you are playing the game, you are getting better and growing. Whether it is noticeable or not, it is happening. There is always ample room to grow. There is a lot that can be done, regardless of what my season is this year.

Is there something you want to work on as you begin the 2008 season?

Richie Daigle: I am working on keeping my fastball low in the zone and locating it in and out, keeping my split-fingered with good velocity, over the plate and low in the zone and working my slider to have a hard, sharp break and reading hitters – just getting outs.

You mentioned the splitter and that was something we discussed last year. How has your splitter progressed over the last year?

Richie Daigle: It is getting better. It is mimicking my two-seam fastball with a lower velocity so I think those two pitches can be confused easily and that is a good thing.

You have what is termed clean mechanics – is that kind of surprising since you have only pitched for a year and a half now?

Richie Daigle: I had a really good arm in the outfield and considered myself to be a pretty good athlete. Sometimes, things just come naturally. It might have been one of those things. Mechanics come kind of easy for me but I have to work hard at other areas. It is just one of those things.

You are pretty deliberate to the plate. Do you feel like you have to work on improving how you hold runners close to first?

Richie Daigle: That is definitely something I have worked on and found more of a quick-step approach out of the stretch to eliminate the real big leg kick for that reason. That and mixing up looks should help out a lot in that area.

What is going to make for a successful 2008 season for Richie Daigle?

Richie Daigle: Go out and get the job done – get outs. Be the guy who can get the job done, regardless of numbers. I want to be consistent and reliable. If I can be those two things, I can be a guy they want to keep around for a little while.

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