Padres Prospect Interview: Allen Harrington

San Diego Padres prospect Allen Harrington has been called a bulldog in the past. It, therefore, hit him especially hard when injury struck and his competitive juices were stalled. Now, Harrington is looking for his stuff to come back to where it was.

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

Allen Harrington: It was a long off-season, with rehab and everything else. Everything feels good. I'm a little rusty you can tell, but that's just part of it. I'm just getting better every time.

Is there a specific pitch that you feel is slower coming back?

Allen Harrington: Probably the changeup. Because I started using it more last year. They got onto me about that, and it really showed when I started using it and they were right. I just started getting the feel for it and I got hurt. So now, I have to rebuild on that and get it back.

How frustrating has this process been for you?

Allen Harrington: It's been really hard on me. We're not just baseball players. Most of us like to throw the football and play basketball and everything. You don't know what it feels like for something you're whole athletic life to be taken away from you. I couldn't do anything. I could barely tie my shoes at times, and it would fire off on me. But it's getting back there. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling strong.

You were pitching well before the injury. What positives can you take with you into the coming season?

Allen Harrington: Just the confidence, getting hurt, it didn't shatter my confidence. It just made me work harder. I'll take what I learned last year and apply it to this up coming season. I learned a lot last year, from TB (Tom Bradley) and Dougie (Dascenzo) and all those guys. From (Mike) Couchee and (Bob) Klucky coming to town. The confidence is there and I'm throwing well.

Did you find a comfort level pitching in the rotation consistently?

Allen Harrington: I like starting in a way. I guess, we've all done it pretty much our whole lives, through college and everything. Between Eugene and Fort Wayne my first year, I was a reliever. Then in my last few weeks of the season, they moved me to a starter. Then kept me as a starter. I like either role. I like the bullpen because I know, coming to the field everyday, I'm prepared to pitch. I don't know if I am, so I have to be prepared. Starting is different in a way because you have four days off in between. But either role is good for me. I just like getting out there and competing.

How has the changeup come along over the last year and a half – a pitch that is relatively new for you?

Allen Harrington: I really didn't use it, like they stressed; 20 percent changeups in a game of starters. I was around eight to 12 percent range before. But once I started using it at the 20 percent it was good as an out pitch. I was getting a couple of strikeouts here and there on it, and that's what showed me that they really know what they're talking about, stick with it and really work on it. It will work for you.

Do you feel like your work ethic and competitiveness is a lift to other players around you?

Allen Harrington: I think so. I try to make it that way. I try to make it to where, if I'm working hard, I say ‘hey come on man, let's just do a little extra here.' and stuff like that. For the most part, though, guys I worked with worked hard and they didn't need a lot of push and that showed with all of them because they all had really good years.

Ten players tried to steal off you last year and you and your catchers caught six. Were you surprised so many tried as a southpaw?

Allen Harrington: Yeah, we've been working on that actually. We talked about that. With guys that have good moves, you don't even have to have good moves. You just hold them like they preach. Holding the ball, for a good period, looking at them, staring them down, slows down a good base runner. Luis Durango and guys like that, real fast guys, just holding the ball gets them jittery. Then they tip something off to you. A lot of guys try to cheat and try to go first move off a lefty, whether they're picking or not. But it was surprising, I guess.

So looking forward, what's going to be a successful year for you?

Allen Harrington: My number one goal is to stay healthy. Last year, I was doing great, and it was just disappointing to have my season come to an end like that. The next thing is just competing everyday, and fighting for a spot, and helping my team win. Just having a good year and hopefully winning a championship somewhere.

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