PBN Q & A: J.A. Happ

J.A. Happ has moved steadily through the Phillies' system and figures to be in Clearwater for the 2006 season. Recently, Happ talked about what's going on in his life and his career.

What did the Phillies have you work on during Florida Instructional League?

I worked on several different things, raising my glove arm, keeping my head still, leading with my hip. All of these were in efforts to help me stay back a little while longer and so I do not rush, which makes my arm drag and thus puts pressure on the shoulder and elbow which also often results in being up in the zone.

Did you work during the off-season, or did you just relax, spend time with your family, friends and work out?

I did not work during the off-season. I wasn't sure what my plans were going to be and if I was going to be moving around alot. I also wanted to make sure I was in the best shape I could be in and have no distractions or excuses not to be. I mostly worked out all winter and tried to stay focused the season ahead. I did spend some time with my friends and was with my family often, which was very nice.

When the Phillies acquired Daniel Haigwood and Giovany Gonzalez from the White Sox organization in the Thome trade, what were your thoughts? Particularly since it appears that the Phillies have them "jumping ahead" of guys already in the system, like yourself?

The main thing for me is to stay focused and keep doing my job. I need to stay healthy and have a good season. I can only control what I do. those guys are very talented players but I can't worry about what they do.

Some in the Phillies organization have compared you to Randy Wolf. Do you feel that is a fair comparison?

Well that is a great guy to be compared to. Right now, I obviously can't say that is a fair comparison because of how well established he is, from how well he has done. But I understand the point of comparisons as far as comparing guys. so I gladly accept the comparison.

What did you learn, about anything, while you were at Lakewood?

Lakewood was a great experience for me. I think naturally through pitching, you learn more about yourself and how you are able to work hitters and get hitters out. I learned some things that I need to work on and a few things that work well for me. I also learned that there are great people in that town. The fans were great, and my host family and friend I met there were amazing. It was really one of my best baseball experiences.

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