Abbott on Padres Triple-A pitching prospects

Glenn Abbott was the pitching coach that provided the pipeline to the San Diego Padres. Working with the Portland Beavers, he saw the graduation of many young arms, including the departed Dirk Hayhurst and Clay Hensley, and rotational candidantes Chad Reineke, and Josh Geer, to name a few.

What strides did you see from the recently departed Dirk Hayhurst over the last two years?

Glenn Abbott: He has made as big of strides as I have had with a pitcher, you know, over the last couple of years. I had him here in Mobile and then last year and this year. It's just incredible how he has come along and got a feel for his pitches. He's improved in every aspect of his game. I was really happy for him getting an opportunity to go up there this year. From day one he was consistent, might have been our most consistent from day one this summer. I just can't say enough about how well he did. I just hope that he can keep his nerves in check and be comfortable when he's pitching in Toronto and just pitch like he can.

It's almost like he stopped thinking because he used to think a little bit too much perhaps.

Glenn Abbott: Exactly, I think at times he will do it now, but you're exactly right, he gets to thinking too much sometimes and he gets himself in trouble. But, he's gotten a lot better with that and, he's improved in all aspects in his game. He's got as good a feel for all four of his pitches as anybody I've had; he's always consistent. Two years ago in Mobile, he couldn't even make a slider spin. His curveball was real slow and loopy. It wasn't any good to use. In other words, I told him the only time he could use that pitch was real early in the count, first pitch, or 1 and 0, that type of count. We worked on that slider and then he went home that winter – he's one of those types, if you give him a task to do, he'll figure it out. We worked on it playing catch in Mobile and then next spring he came out and all of a sudden he had a pretty decent slider. It made his curveball better. And then, last year, it got that much better again and it fell into place good for him. It's a very good pitch for him.

Clay Hensley pitched well for you guys. Is the former Padres prospect rounding back into form after coming back from surgery?

Glenn Abbott: Yeah, I never saw him pitch in person before he was hurt. But, he threw the ball nice when he was down there. Of course, he had a couple of glitches like everybody does. But, I thought he was throwing the ball when they called him back up.

What did you see out of Chad Reineke during the short time you had him – I think it was just three starts you had him?

Glenn Abbott: He's got a pretty good slider. The slider is his best pitch. He did a good job for us. He was very solid; he gave us 6-7 innings each time he went out. It's funny because the only runs he gave up were solo homers. He gave up like two solo homers about every time out. He threw the ball well. He just needs to get his fastball down a little bit better, more consistently. But his slider was his best pitch. He did a nice job for us.

What does Josh Geer have to do to become better at facing left-handed pitchers?

Glenn Abbott: Yeah, I think it's more of a mental thing with him. As I say that, he might be the best pitcher we had, as far as the mental makeup, of the young guys. He doesn't let things bother him. He can go out there and give it up and fix it and make adjustments in that game and end up giving you five or six, seven good innings. He can have a lot of trouble early. He shouldn't have trouble with it, but he does at times. I think it's just more of a mental thing for him.

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