Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Rick Adair (Part 2)

Rick Adair is currently in his third season as the Rangers' minor league pitching coordinator. The veteran pitching coach oversees all pitchers in the Rangers organization and travels to each affiliate throughout the year. Lone Star Dugout brings you part two of this two-part interview with the organization's pitching coordinator.

Jason Cole: With the short-season clubs about to start up, a lot of fans have begun talking about Fabio Castillo again. Can you talk about how his development is coming along?

Rick Adair: Fabio has been with us for over two years now through our Dominican program and being in extended spring training. This is going to be his first opportunity to go out and play with a competitive club. We're excited about it. He's a young guy that has a chance to be a power pitcher. We're real happy with his progress. As much as we're happy with the progress he's made on the field, he's matured a lot off the field as well. We feel very good about him.

Cole: Is it safe to assume that he'll be assigned to Spokane?

Adair: That's the plan as we speak today. Things do have a way of changing, but our goal is to have him pitch every fifth day in Spokane for the remainder of the season. We hope he does well.

Cole: Other than the guys who have already made a name for themselves such as Danny Herrera and Kasey Kiker, is there another pitcher from last year's draft class that we should know about?

Adair: We've got some guys that have come along. Brennan Garr has really started to pitch well. He's a position player change, a former third baseman out of Colorado. We're excited about the progress he's made. Michael Ballard, who did not pitch very well last year, has made a lot of strides in Clinton. I would say those two guys in particular. While they haven't made great strides, they're much further ahead of where they were this time last year.

Cole: When we spoke with Kasey Kiker a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he was making some adjustments. Can you talk about those adjustments and how do you think they are helping him right now?

Adair: Obviously Kasey is a guy that we really like and we like his makeup. He had some delivery issues that we've addressed and he had some input into the changes that he's made. It's still a work in progress, but he's doing well with it. The bottom line is that we're just trying to get him in the strike zone with more quality pitches down. Last night was probably the best he's been with that all year. He only threw 69 pitches in five innings, he was down in the strike zone, and he struck out eight. We're real pleased with the progress he's making.

Cole: Sticking with that Clinton team, Omar Poveda is in his second season with the LumberKings. What would you say is his best pitch and how has he developed?

Adair: His best pitch is his fastball. That's probably the primary focus with him because he does have a great body. He's still just 19 years old. Building his arm strength and getting him to command his fastball has been the priority. He's done well with that. By doing that, that's obviously helped his changeup. His changeup is a plus pitch. Staying on top of the ball and the delivery things that we've done with him has helped his breaking ball. The fact that he's utilized his fastball has made his breaking ball better.

Cole: Zach Phillips has had quite a bit more success in his second season with Clinton. What has he done differently this year?

Adair: I think everybody that was with that club last year is currently reaping the benefits of all the work that was done last year. They lost a lot of games and as young as they were last year, I think they all got caught up in doing more than they're capable of doing at times. They were basically pressing. All those guys have gelled together. The guys that were there last year have remembered all the struggles they went through. I think they've kind of fed off each other. I think Zach is a product of the environment from last year to this year. They all went through some very difficult times last year but they've all matured and the bottom line is that Zach has matured with everybody else. He has a lot more confidence in himself and a lot more confidence in the guys around him.

Cole: Have you worked with Jacob Brigham this year?

Adair: Yeah, through instructional league last year and some in extended spring and obviously spring training.

Cole: What are your thoughts on him?

Adair: He's a great competitor. I think he has a chance of being a power-type pitcher. He goes about his business as good as anybody and we're just looking forward to seeing him pitch the rest of the summer.

Cole: Michael Kirkman really struggled with control last year when he walked 51 batters in 34.1 innings. What happened to him and has he been able to correct those problems?

Adair: Michael has done a tremendous job since last year. If you want to look at just improvement, he's probably the most improved guy that we have from this time last year until now. Mike is a great competitor and a grinder. He's figured some things out. We've tried to stay away from him as much as possible to let him find himself again. He's done a tremendous job. All of the success that Mike has had is simply because of the work ethic and the way this guy grinds. I would expect for him to have a great second half.

Cole: Is he going to be pitching in Spokane?

Adair: We haven't made any final decisions, but right now it looks like he's going to Spokane.


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