Geer ready to compete for starting job

PEORIA, AZ-- San Diego Padres prospect Josh Geer had a stellar start to his major league career but a late season injury marred another solid campaign. The concern was he might not be ready for Spring Training. Geer will, however, throw on Monday in a bid to earn a job in the starting rotation.

How is the health of your elbow?

Josh Geer: It's doing good so far. I came to Spring Training and had a little soreness here and there, but the trainers work on it each day and I've been throwing live BP and everything's been good and I'll throw my first game on Monday.

You reach the dream and are pitching well – what kind of frustration was the elbow strain on the mental side as you battle for a spot in the big league rotation this spring?

Josh Geer: It didn't happen until the end of my second-to-last start. It was pretty frustrating; I've never really had arm problems since I've been drafted. So, pretty frustrating – I was hoping for the best in the offseason and that it wouldn't give me problems coming into this season, and it hasn't so far. So I've just got to stay mentally focused and hopefully it'll be good.

What made you so successful at keeping runners close and nullifying the running game?

Josh Geer: Just changing my looks and changing my times to home plate, trying to keep them close: a couple of pickoff moves, trying to be quick, and a quick slide-step. I mean, you have to control the running game at every level; that's the main key in keeping guys close.

One of your goals was getting stronger in the off-season with an eye on perhaps picking up some velocity. Were you able to meet your goals?

Josh Geer: My velocity's been pretty close to the same. I get stronger here and there. I'll be throwing harder one game and a little softer the other. I'm big on location right now. I think the velocity's going to be there but location is more important than throwing harder, because you can sit there and blow a guy away but you can leave a ball up, and if it's not in the right location, then you can get in trouble. So I'm more of a location kind of guy. That's what I've learned coming up: that that's more important than throwing hard.

You started throwing the slider this past season. How has that pitch come along for you?

Josh Geer: It's progressed a lot. I got a feel for it about halfway through the season and it's been a big pitch. I've been able to backdoor it to lefties and do the same thing to righties. So that's been the third pitch that's really helped me out. I think they saw that and were able to call me up [to San Diego], and it worked well up there too.

How many different grips do you try when working on a new pitch and how do you know when one finally works for you?

Josh Geer: I've never really tried new grips but this slider – just playing around with it because it was a new pitch for me. Trying to get a different break on it. But I never really fool around with different pitches.

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