Padres Prospect Interview: Pablo Menchaca

Pablo Menchaca was looking for a bounce-back season after an injury-riddled 2007. After beginning the year slow, the Padres moved him into the bullpen – hoping he would gain some emotion. It worked, as his velocity was up and his pitches became crisper.

Pablo, you started off starting this year and moved into the relief role. Were you mad?

Pablo Menchaca: I feel the same way; it's just like the starting rotation where I've got the same pitches to throw.

Did it inspire you to be better? Because you want to get back into that starting rotation at some point in the future.

Pablo Menchaca: Yes, I tried to do the best I could as a reliever so I could get back in the rotation.

You've been in Ft. Wayne before, you're back in Eugene. Is that a disappointment for you?

Pablo Menchaca: I feel like I'm not disappointed but, I just came down here to make myself a starter so I can get more pitches to throw.

What are you working on these days? What have been the changes from the last year?

Pablo Menchaca: My mechanics, I'm throwing more strikes now, my fastball.

What did you change mechanically?

Pablo Menchaca: I was always leaning forward.

So, how has that helped you? Is that the command that you're talking about?

Pablo Menchaca: Yes, it's helped me control more strikes and I feel better.

Early in the year, your velocity was down, and when you went into relief you were throwing a little harder. What's the change?

Pablo Menchaca: I started feeling better; I just wanted to get back in the rotation. I still need to throw strikes and get outs.

What are your expectations moving forward?

Pablo Menchaca: Have a better ERA; throw more strikes so I can go to the next level.

One of the things the Padres have said about you is that you need a little bit more fire.

Pablo Menchaca: I've been working on it, so I'm starting to get more fire.

Is that getting mad on the mound, emotional, what does that mean?

Pablo Menchaca: I just want to throw better and better and be more aggressive with the pitches - throw strikes, as best I can.

What about your pitches? Has there been something over the last year that you've improved on a lot?

Pablo Menchaca: I'm working on my slider; I'm getting better.

What's the key to the slider?

Pablo Menchaca: I'm throwing it harder. It has been a tough pitch for me to keep in the strike zone because I have to stay on top of it.

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