Rangers Q&A with Taylor Teagarden

After a successful professional debut in 2005, catcher Taylor Teagarden missed most of the 2006 campaign due to Tommy John surgery. Rangers Insider's Jason Cole spoke with the Dallas native on Saturday evening.

Jason Cole: What did you do over the offseason to prepare for this year?

Taylor Teagarden: I went back to Austin and found a place to stay with some of the guys I played college ball with. We worked out, stayed in shape, and stayed on the same routine every day. We were hitting and working out four or five days per week. We relaxed and got work done whenever we could, but mostly just enjoyed ourselves.

JC: You had Tommy John surgery last season. A lot of people know what it's like for a pitcher, but how is the rehab process different for a position player?

TT: It's supposed to be easier. You don't have to get on the mound and go through throwing progressions off the mound, which is a little steeper because you have to throw downhill. If everything goes well, the timetable for a position player is usually as early as eight months, provided what position you play and how many throws you have to make. As a catcher, you have to make a lot of hard throws at different times of the game. It took me about a year to fully bounce back, but most position players can bounce back a lot quicker.

JC: How did the injury affect you at the plate?

TT: It does cause some tenderness early on, but those days are way behind me. I'm about 16 months post-op, so definitely hitting I don't think about my elbow at all.

JC: You were able to call your own game in college. What kind of advantage did that give you once you got to the professional level?

TT: It gives you an opportunity to work with pitchers at an earlier age. You get to know a pitching staff by yourself and understand what pitchers think and what hitters are doing. You don't have to rely on the coaching staff as much. It's more of a trial and error on your own terms. You go with it, watch other catchers, and learn pretty quickly. I enjoyed it and we had a lot of success. We had a really good pitching staff at Texas the three years I was there. It kind of correlates and goes hand-in-hand with professional baseball as well.

JC: What are you currently working on at the plate?

TT: I'm just getting timing down and working on my approach and things I want to do from at bat to at bat. I try not to make it too complicated. There are a few things I need to work on, like tone up my swing. A lot of things just kind of come after that. It's a pretty simple philosophy, but it just takes a lot of repetition to really get it down.

JC: You were 1-for-2 in tonight's minor league game. Are you happy with your performance not only tonight, but in spring training overall?

TT: Spring training is going o.k. so far. I think once I get about fifteen more at bats I'll feel a lot more comfortable at the plate. The hit to right field tonight was big for me. I needed a nice hit in a situation like that with the things I've been working on the last two weeks. Overall, things are going well, but there's always room for improvement. Hopefully I'll just carry it into the season with some confidence.

JC: Do you know where the Rangers will send you this year?

TT: I'll be playing with the (High-A) Bakersfield Blaze this year.

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