Frieri out to prove 40-man was right choice

LAKE ELSINORE, CA—The San Diego Padres added Ernesto Frieri to the 40-man roster this off-season and inserted him into the rotation after he began the year in the bullpen – with an eye on improving his secondary pitches. Frieri has appreciated all the Padres have done and vows to keep up the hard work.

You went to big league camp this year after being added to the 40-man roster in the off-season. What was the experience like?

Ernesto Frieri: It was exciting and a good experience to meet all the big league guys. I got a chance to learn something from them. I went back to minor league at the end of spring ready for anything with a lot more experience behind me and ready to do what I needed to do.

Last year, early in the year when I saw you the velocity was somewhere between 88-91 MPH and by the end of the year it was hitting 94 and 95 MPH. What changed?

Ernesto Frieri: I just worked hard every day. It feels like I get ready during the season and am throwing 90-91 early on and when the season goes on I get my fastball up to 94-95 like you said.

Early this year, I wasn't throwing as hard as I was last year and I worked hard to get back there.

Have you also changed some of your mechanics in the process?

Ernesto Frieri: They were working with me on my breaking balls because I really don't have a great changeup. I don't get out in front on it so I am working hard on that.

A lot of people have asked me why I am pitching differently and the Padres want me to throw like that, and I have to do what they want me to do.

You got a chance to go to China as well this spring. What was that like?

Ernesto Frieri: It was wonderful. It was great. It was fun. It was fun to meet people from a different culture and play for the San Diego Padres over there.

You have had some ups and downs this season? Talk a little about that.

Ernesto Frieri: I always want to take the ball and I always want to pitch. It isn't always the Ernesto Frieri I know but I am trying to get better.

What did you learn from your experience in big league camp this year?

Ernesto Frieri: I paid a lot of attention to guys like Trevor Hoffman, Greg Maddux and Jake Peavy. I ask a lot of questions. What I noticed – it doesn't matter how hard you throw. It is about location. Location. Throw the baseball where you want to. Throw a high fastball when you want to. Same delivery with every pitch. That is why they are superstars in the big leagues.

You got put on the 40-man roster this year. How exciting was that for you?

Ernesto Frieri: Oh my gosh – when they called me, I didn't believe it. ‘Are you kidding me? Is that true?'

I cried. I cried, I was so happy. My family, my girlfriend, were so happy. ‘Wow, my goals are coming true.'

As soon as they told me I was on the 40-man, I started to work out harder. I went to the gym. I gained weight to be stronger for the season. I will continue to work hard. I am excited. I think I can pitch in the big leagues.

What does being added to the 40-man mean to you?

Ernesto Frieri: I want to pitch. They are giving me the opportunity and I am going to take it. If they give me a chance to get (to the big leagues), I will.

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