Padres Prospect Interview: Pedro Hernandez

Eugene, OR: Pedro Hernandez was so good during extended, the San Diego Padres wanted to challenge him. It didn't go as planned and he is back in the Arizona Rookie League.

Talk about skipping a level after being in the Dominican Summer League a year ago and going straight to Eugene.

Pedro Hernandez: It was a big step for me to come from the Dominican, go to extended and be lights out there and to skip rookie ball and play in Eugene – my first time in the US. It was tough. I was getting used to it and enjoying it.

The coaches and staff judged me fit to be there and I thank them for the opportunity.

Did you feel like you were putting too much pressure on yourself to perform?

Pedro Hernandez: At first, it was really hard. There was a lot of pressure because I wanted to do the best I could to be the best.

That happens to a lot of players. I am letting all the scary moments and pushing the pressure away to just worry about my pitching – my next start, my next pitch.

Has there been a reason that there have been times when you aren't throwing your breaking ball as much as in the past?

Pedro Hernandez: The first few starts, everyone was telling me that I needed to throw more changeups. When I throw more changeups and fewer curveballs, they tell me to throw more curveballs. That stuck in my mind. I need to make an adjustment to get a balance between them, throwing both changeups and curveballs.

Has it been easy or difficult to keep your confidence high?

Pedro Hernandez: It has beeen a little tough keeping my confidence up. The pitcher that doesn't get hit around at some point during the career is the pitcher that doesn't throw. I need to keep working. I am taking it all as a learning experience. I need to keep working on my confidence and pitches.

You have always had a great changeup. Perhaps for the first time it has been hit this season. Is it tough to come back with it when he gets hit hard?

Pedro Hernandez: No, the changeup – I know if I leave one up that the next one will be down in the zone and be a better pitch. My changeup is my best pitch. It takes away from the hitters timing who think it is a fastball. I can move the pitch around and still have the same confidence in the pitch.

In the last year, your velocity has gone up. How did you make that happen?

Pedro Hernandez: Working hard every day to strengthen my body and my arm.

What do you remember about playing baseball as a kid in Venezuela?

Pedro Hernandez: I enjoyed playing baseball so much when I was a kid. I looked forward to becoming a pitcher like Johan Santana. He is my idol and the best major league player.

My parents always helped me out and told me that if I wanted to play they would support me in pursuing my dreams. I practiced for at least two hours every day.

In what ways did your parents help you?

Pedro Hernandez: They always have been with me during the good times and the bad times. If I am doing bad, they are always cheering me up and giving me positive reinforcements, telling me that isn't me and I am better than that. I thank my parents a lot for supporting me.

You have a couple of balks called on you this season. How come?

Pedro Hernandez: It might be the pressure or the excitement of being in the game. I try and make everything perfect and as a result will do things too fast. Seeing all the fans in Eugene, I get excited.

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