Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Schmidt

"It was frustrating," San Diego Padres prospect Nick Schmidt said about losing over a year just seven innings into his professional career. "That is an understatement."

Early in the year, do you feel like there is still something you have to perfect to be thebest pitcher you can be?

Nick Schmidt: I am still working on my mechanics. I have a tendency to fly open so I am trying to stay back and stay closed to give me better location.

Talk about the injury and the recovery process you have undergone.

Nick Schmidt: It was a long year last year. It was a grind, but I stuck to it, went with the plan to work hard every single day and feel good now. Mentally, it was tough, but it pays off to work hard.

How frustrating has this process been for you?

Nick Schmidt: It was frustrating. That is an understatement. To come in and only throw seven innings in my first taste of professional ball. I am not, however, going to dwell on that. I can move forward now and will work hard.

You received an invite to major league camp. In what ways has it and will it benefit you?

Nick Schmidt: It was good. I had a lot fun mingling with the guys. It is always good to be able to talk to the older guys who have been through it and see how their mind works through different things. I was fortunate – this was really my first spring because I was hurt last year. Not a bad start.

We had a meeting with Chris Young – all of the minor league guys – and got to talk to him. We had a chance to ask questions and find out what he works on and what he does best. It was nice to see – they are people too. They have had similar situations that we can learn from.

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?

Nick Schmidt: Definitely. Being hurt, you see a lot of opportunities that can happen that you might not see as the season is going on. Sitting back, it really helps you not take for granted the little things.

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

Nick Schmidt: Mentally I feel stronger. As I said, it is easy to take things for granted and I am going to try not to. It is the little things that matter.

They say that command is the last thing to return. Knowing that, does the day-to-day become more of a grind?

Nick Schmidt: That is just what people say. If you go off that, you will never be any good. You have to go off what you think and what you are capable of. Don't worry about what other people have done.

I don't think it will be an issue. Maybe it will or maybe it won't but I won't go in there thinking I am not going to have my command. I will go in thinking I can throw strikes whenever I want.

When you look at the season, what will be the successes and failures?

Nick Schmidt: Success – I am going to try and stay healthy, pitch a full season, and keep my walks down. I want to keep my control.

There is a point where you are confident pitching and another point where you actually trust your stuff. How do you proceed from one stage to the other?

Nick Schmidt: Personally, I think it is success on the ball field. You can go out there and feel great on the hill but pitch terrible. If you go out there and feel great about your stuff and then back it up by pitching well and getting people out, you are going to feel even better.

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