Padres Prospect Interview: Alexis Lara

San Diego Padres prospect Alexis Lara made headlines this spring with his mid-90s fastball and continues to make waves in the system, becoming a top relief prospect.

Lexi, talk about your 2009 success and maybe what changed halfway through the season for a phenomenal second half.

Alexis Lara: The first half, I was excited, trying to get the fastballs up. The second half, I started missing my pitches a bit, throwing a lot more slider and changeups. The fastball was good, so it helped a lot.

One of the pitching coaches said "max effort." Has he slowed it down, instead of throwing 110 miles per hour?

Alexis Lara: I work hard to be effective. I give it all I can every time. I don't see himself giving 90 percent. I just want to go as hard as I can for as long as I can.

One of the things that Tom Bradley said was to keep your head on line. What improvements have you made in that area?

Alexis Lara: I understand what they've tried to tell me, I've tried a little bit, but it's just how I throw.

You have a .180 average in your career. That's impressive. What needs to improve?

Alexis Lara: I am going to try to do the same thing. Go out there and work and do what I've been doing, and hopefully it'll be better than it has been.

What are your memories of playing baseball in the Dominican Republic?

Alexis Lara: I remember playing Little League. When I was 16, I signed on to a program at an academy, which is where I ended up being signed by the Padres.

When did you know you were pretty good?

Alexis Lara: I've always been a fan of baseball and have been focused on making it. Now, it's happening.

Were your parents important to playing early on?

Alexis Lara: Yes, family has always been supportive of it and helped me out.

You threw a lot of sliders this spring training. How has that improved?

Alexis Lara: When I was in the Dominican, I really worked on it. I put a lot of focus on working on the slider and also command of the fastball. In spring training, I worked on staying on line and it's worked out well.

Do you feel like last year you threw too many changeups?

Alexis Lara: No. I've always been proud of my changeup and it's always worked for me. The two things I have been working on was fastball command and slider. The changeup is where I wants it to be exactly and it's a good pitch for me. So, I will throw it when I need to and it's been working out.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

Alexis Lara: I am just trying to work hard, take it one step at a time, and hopefully move up to the next level and further even. Keep going.

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