Reineke leans on Black's advice

PEORIA, AZ-- Chad Reineke had a chance to place his claim on a rotational spot last year but injury got in the way. Now, he is fighting for a spot with a number of candidates. The key to his success was summed up by manager Bud Black.

You make your debut with the Padres and then get injured. How disappointing was that for you?

Chad Reineke: Well, it's definitely disappointing. You never want your season to end on an injury. But, in a way, it was a bit of a relief to know that there was something wrong. I'd been feeling it for a while and was trying to pitch through it. But when you go out there, especially at the highest level like the big leagues and you're wondering how your arm's going to feel that day and what's wrong with it, it's just a distraction. I was happy that they gave me the opportunity. I wish I could have finished the season, but I was happy to at least find out what was wrong.

Being on the sidelines can make you look at the game a little differently. Do you feel like you are seeing things you may not have seen before?

Chad Reineke: I don't know – when I got hurt, I kind of tried to take a break from it. You know, it was at the end of the season. I went home, I got engaged. I watched some of the games, but I tried to just take a break from it.

It had been a long two years as far as finishing my Triple-A season and coming out here to the Fall League, and I felt like this was my first opportunity to actually have a full off-season. So I just tried to take a break from everything and get healthy.

What were you able to focus on while rehabbing that makes you believe you can come back even stronger this season?

Chad Reineke: Just focusing on my body. I focused on getting my arm ready to pitch. To come out and play catch and have it feel good every day is a great feeling.

I got to watch a few of my outings that they videotaped, and I got to watch some of the things that I didn't realize I might have been doing as far as mechanics. And listening to some of the commentators: I heard Mark Grace, who was a commentator when we were in Arizona, noticed a few things. A great hitter like him from the booth noticed a few things about the way I was pitching. So I was able to cipher through the videos and take some of the good and also notice a few of the bad things that I need to work on.

One of the things Bud Black mentioned was getting better control of your fastball. Will that be the ultimate key to your success?

Chad Reineke: It's probably the biggest key to my success. It's something that I'm always going to have to work with throughout my career. You know, there are certain types of pitchers – I don't characterize myself as a pure strike-thrower, but it's something I can get better at and that I can grow into. I know I have a lot of work to do on that, and I think that's one of the things I need to focus on the most.

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