Aaron Poreda: I have been working on fastball command, being able to locate it to both sides of the plate and using my two-seamer a lot. I also got to work on my slider. The slider has been a good pitch for me. I have been able to throw it in the zone early and expand the zone late. I had success forcing contact.
It seems like you have two different deliveries – one out of the stretch and a different one out of the windup with your glove positioning. Does that affect you in any way?
Aaron Poreda: I am trying to get a consistent arm slot and gain the same delivery. In some people's eyes, it might seem that I am looking a little different each time because of all the changes I have had this past season. I am trying to find a comfortable arm slot that I can repeat over and over again. I am not trying to do two different arm slots and am working on sticking with one. Hopefully, that will work well for me.
What does it mean to you to be traded along with a couple of guys for someone like Jake Peavy. In the end, your success will be measured against Peavy.
Aaron Poreda: I have great expectations placed upon myself and by the Padres organization. I want to do great things. I am working as hard as I can to live up to those expectations and am working hard to get into spring training to compete for a starting job next year.
Will it always be special for you to say you were traded for someone of Peavy's caliber?
Aaron Poreda: It is a great accomplishment but I can't dwell on it. It wasn't my goal to be traded for a big league guy it was to be one of those big league guys who is well-respected around the league and have success while one day winning a World Series.
You made it up to the big leagues at a very young age. Was there any added pressure to perform based on that when some guys aren't debuting until they are 26 or 27?
Aaron Poreda: Yeah it was a lot of pressure, but I think that when the pressure is on, I push myself harder to compete at a higher level. When you get to the big leagues, the competition is better. Everyone is playing harder and more is on the line. I think I am ready for this new level of competition. It is a lot of fun.
When you first got traded into the organization, you ended up in Triple-A Portland. Obviously, you suffered through some bouts of wildness. Is there anything you can pinpoint that determined why that occurred?
Aaron Poreda: There are a lot of reasons or excuses I could make, whether it was I went from starter to the bullpen, starter to the bullpen, getting traded could be part of it, different coaches, different players, being in a different environment. All of those are aspects of change. Being a starting pitcher, you try and get into a routine of doing the same thing over and over.
All those changes might have screwed me up physically and mentally. Even in the beginning of the year, I was having more trouble throwing strikes and was walking more than I wanted. It seems like the wheels came off a little bit when I got traded, and it kind of snowballed for the rest of the season.
I got back to what was important – being me, being confident, being a little cocky, and knowing that if I throw strikes, they are not going to be able to hit it. Really, I have to stay confident. I have gotten support from the Padres organization, my family, and this is a good opportunity for me to get right on track.
You mentioned that pitching in the Padres Instructional League was a low pressure situation when we were chatting while I was out there. What does that mean?
Aaron Poreda: It means that it doesn't really matter. If I go out there and walk the world, or give up five home runs, it really doesn't mean anything. I am still going to have a spot to compete for a starting job. Also, there are no crowds, it is more relaxed, the level of competition wasn't as high. The environment itself is relaxed. You kind of go out there and have fun – like you did when you were a kid.
Is it also a chance to work on your pitches? I remember seeing you throw more sliders in one outing than I ever remember you throwing in a game.
Aaron Poreda: Usually when I throw, I like to use my slider a lot. I feel that is a pitch I can throw any time. Usually out of the bullpen, I am a fastball/slider guy. Starting, I might not break out my slider until the third or fourth inning.
In instructs, where I am throwing one or two innings, I need to get my work in. Even though I know this guy might not catch up to my fastball, I want to try my slider to get the work in, mixing in the changeup and two-seam. I am trying to get my work in.
You ended up going up to San Diego. What was the experience like for you?
Aaron Poreda: It was amazing. The team was great. The fans were great. The beach – the weather – the girls. Everything was amazing. I had a great time. It was great to meet the guys and get comfortable up there.
I wish I had a couple more innings. It would have been great to get a start, but I didn't really prove myself since I have been traded so just being up there was an honor in itself.
I was talking to Heath Bell and he said, ‘It looks like you have been too complacent up here.' And I kind of was. I knew I wasn't going to get too many outings. But he said, ‘You have to put up bigger goals and expectations for yourself.' At that point, I said, ‘I will do that.'
Coming out the bullpen everyday expecting, in a tie ball game, that I am going to be going in. I might get disappointed or frustrated every day because I wasn't going in, but that is the right kind of mentality you have to have. You have to be ready, prepared, and put everything on the line every time.
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