Padres Prospect Interview: Mario Tabachnik

PEORIA, AZ-- San Diego Padres prospect Mario Tabachnik has the stuff but has struggled with its command. He is hoping a year of learning and refinement will equal a better year statistically.

What do you hope to get out of extended spring training?

Mario Tabachnik: First of all, just working with the batters, throwing strikes, working on what the coaches tell us to work on, just try to get the batters out. That's the goal when you're pitching, get everyone out. Just stay in shape and get ready.

Talk about the pitches you throw and the speeds.

Mario Tabachnik: I throw a fastball 90-92, maybe even pump it up to 94. Changeup, slider and curveball. I throw more of the curveball because now in minor league they don't let us throw more than three pitches, so we have to work on our stronger pitches to get outs.

The coaches told me from last year that you have the stuff, you just need a little bit of refinement. What does that mean?

Mario Tabachnik: It means that I have the stuff. I have the velocity, I have everything. That's what I have. Now I have to work to make them better. My stuff is good for lower levels right now, but the thing is I'm working and it's getting me better. I hope this year to go to the upper levels and the coaches are telling me that my stuff looks better.

So is that mechanics? Is that location?

Mario Tabachnik: It's everything. It's mechanics and where you finish the pitches. It's your drifts. It's pitching in the upper and lower half of the zone – that's everything in location.

You didn't pitch a whole lot last year in Arizona. Would you have liked more innings just to kind of see the competition?

Mario Tabachnik: I would love to have more innings, but they know what they're doing. They know that I'm young. Last year, I was 18 years old in the league so they try to keep their prospects getting ready to be at bigger levels and stay healthy. Last year I threw 30 innings. I think it's a good amount my first year. Maybe this year I can throw more than 60, 65, 70 innings. That's what I hope because it was 30 during the season and 20 in extended. So 50, 55 innings.

What do you remember about baseball growing up in Mexico?

Mario Tabachnik: It's a whole different story than this. Baseball in America, it's something that you do when you're young. You play baseball and that's it. You focus on baseball. You work to get drafted in baseball. I never think about this dream. This is a dream come true for me. I thought about playing in the big leagues when I was young. I started playing baseball since I was three so it was my dream. Every time that I came to America, I went to baseball games, and I went to baseball camps and all that but it was much different than here. All of my teammates started playing high school baseball and college baseball. In Mexico, there's no high school baseball or college baseball. It's much different. They signed me out of little league and that's the difference.

I love this place. It's a dream come true.

Has it been a tough transition to the culture? Because Mexico City is pretty Americanized.

Mario Tabachnik: Yeah, my house, I live like an American at home. That's all I can tell you. The food didn't do anything to me. I spent a lot of time in the states, so I'm a little familiarized. For me, it was easy, because I speak the language and I can get along with all the players Latin or American.

So is it a benefit for you since you can speak English so well? So it doesn't matter who's the pitcher you can talk to them.

Mario Tabachnik: I think it's a very good benefit for me. The coaches can come to me and tell me what they think and I can understand it perfect. So I think it's a good benefit.

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