Jason Cole: Besides getting taller again, what did you do over the offseason to get ready for this year?
Michael Schlact: I have a workout routine with a trainer. I'm taking the (phosphagenic) stuff that the Rangers recommended. It's helping me gain weight to get some weight behind my pitches. I work out four or five times per week with a personal trainer.
JC: What are you working on in spring training?
MS: I'm working on a four-seam fastball. I've kind of been a sinkerballer my whole life, but one thing they're working on is command of the four-seam. Also a slider. I have a four-seam grip on my slider. It's a tighter spin and I'm trying to get a better downward angle on it.
JC: Are you happy with your performance in spring training so far?
MS: Yeah, it's gone really well. I'm real excited about the new things that I've been working on, the new delivery, pitches, and everything. I'm real eager to get the season going.
JC: Where are you expecting to go this season?
MS: They haven't really told us yet, but I always try to set my sights high. I'd love to make the Frisco team, but whether it's Bakersfield or Frisco, I know I'm going to get some work done. Hopefully I can move up as the season goes on.
JC: What did the Rangers stress while you were at Bakersfield last year?
MS: They wanted me to develop my four-seamer. They knew that I was comfortable with the sinker and that was something that I could throw in any count. What they wanted me to work on was my arm strength and a better pitch for an 0-2 (count). The four-seamer, especially at the big league level, is a very important pitch.
JC: In terms of being a hitter's league, how does the California League compare to other leagues that you have competed in?
MS: The fields are definitely a lot smaller. The centerfield wall is 354 feet at Bakersfield. I think a lot of it has to do with the size of the ballpark and also the wind. But at the same time, it's the same as pitching everywhere. You need to keep the ball down and try to get the ground balls. But if you leave the ball up and make mistakes with your pitches, you're going to notice.
JC: Is there another minor league player in spring training that has impressed you?
MS: Definitely Doug Mathis. He's always working hard and he's got the right mental attitude. He takes the mound like a bulldog every five days. His command has progressively gotten so much better since the start of spring training last year.
Rangers Q&A with Michael Schlact
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