Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Terry Clark

FRISCO - During his three seasons with the Frisco RoughRiders, Terry Clark has been able to work with some of the Rangers' top pitching prospects. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the former big leaguer after a recent game.

Todd Kaufmann: Matt Harrison threw a lot of pitches in the early innings last night. Was he struggling with his command?

Terry Clark: He kind of got out of his gameplan. The first game he pitched against Springfield, he really established his fastball early in the game. Sometimes in this ballpark the wind is blowing out and it will tend to get you out of your gameplan a little bit. That's what happened with him yesterday. He didn't establish his fastball like he did earlier in Springfield and he got into a mode where he was throwing a lot of changeups and sliders early in the count. In Springfield, he didn't do that. He went right after them with his fastball, ran cutters in on them, and then later in the game he started using his changeup and his curveball. He was very good. Yesterday he just didn't have that plan going in and kind of got out of it. He still pitched ok, but nothing like he did in the first game.

Kaufmann: What do you plan to work with him on before his next start?

Clark: For him, he has a tendency to lean off the plate a little bit. He's a straight up and down pitcher, so he really has to keep his head on the target. Basically we'll take him on the side tomorrow and he's going to work fastballs in and out. Then his cutter back in and get back into that groove he was in during his first start.

Ballard has pitched well in Double-A.
Kaufmann: Mike Ballard said he had really worked to keep the ball down lately. Did you feel he was able to do that tonight?

Clark: He really threw the ball great tonight. Going back to the same thing with Harrison, he established his fastball early in the game in, out, and down in the zone. Once he went to his curveball, his slider, and his changeup, they were out of their game. They didn't know what to do with them. That is what we worked on with him on the side – just staying on-line, throw the ball down in the zone, and let the rest of your pitches work.

Kaufmann: Does a fastball low in the zone work a little bit like a sinker?

Clark: Oh, definitely. The ball down, hitters don't know what to do with it. When you see a ball up in the zone, you see a lot of broken bat base hits and a lot of bloops over the infield. But when the ball's down, you either square it up or you're out.

Kaufmann: Do you go over scouting reports with pitchers before the game?

Clark: At this level, we'll go over certain hitters that are real hot. For instance, Hamilton for them is hot and the catcher – Anderson – was pretty hot from the night before. We just talked about what we want to do to those guys. We did a great job of shutting them down.

Jason Cole: Scott Feldman will be getting his first start with the Rangers on Sunday. Has the arm slot change from sidearm to three-quarter helped increase his velocity?

Clark: I don't know if it has increased his velocity, but with the arm slot going up, the whole thing for him is to keep his front shoulder in. He needs to keep his front shoulder in longer down the hill because he used to throw from the side. You're allowed to get it out of the way from the side. But from the top, if that shoulder gets out of the way, the hitter sees the ball for a long time. We're trying to keep his shoulder in for a little bit more deception. His velocity is still 90-94 miles per hour. With that deception up top and his curveball and his cutter, he really looked good his first outing. If he can do that in his first outing in the big leagues, that's what their looking for. If he can do that, he's going to be there a long time.

Feldman is now a starting pitcher.
Cole: Did he throw a curveball before this year?

Clark: It was more of a slurve, now it's more of a true curveball.

Cole: Was the arm angle change made in hopes that he would be able to go more innings?

Clark: I think once they changed his arm angle, they found out that this guy could be a starter. Before it was mostly relieving. But up top, with the velocity he has, he has perfect build for a starter to hopefully go 200 innings in a season.

Kaufmann: Who is slated to start Monday's doubleheader?

Clark: We have a kid coming up from Clinton named Reed. He'll start the first game and then Jake Dittler will start the second game.

Cole: Brennan Garr gave up three runs in his outing the other night. What was leading to his struggles?

Clark: His whole thing is that he needs to use his legs to get down the hill. Sometimes he gets caught up to where he is only striding about four or four and a half feet. He needs to be in the five and a half feet – sometimes even a little longer – to give him a chance to get him arm up and throw the ball down hill. Last night he was short striding and he knew it, he couldn't fix it, and talking to him about it, he got frustrated last night. He went out, did a little work today on the side, and I'm sure he'll be right back where he needs to be.

Cole: Let's talk about Warner Madrigal. Is he pretty polished for a guy that has only been pitching for two full seasons?

Clark: Oh, definitely. He is a lot further a long than most guys that have only been pitching for two years. He's a converted outfielder into a pitcher. He has very good control. He throws the ball in the zone a lot. As you know tonight, he gets behind by throwing ball one to a left-hander with a fastball and then throws two sliders for strikes. Then he threw a fastball after that. He has got a lot of knowledge upstairs for a guy who was in the outfield. He is catching on more and more. He just needs to work on a few things. He's got a great arm and I'm sure if everything works out, you might see him up in Texas sometime in the future.

Cole: Is his polish kind of why you guys had him skip Bakersfield this season?

Clark: Yeah. He threw winterball and our scouts saw him, our farm director saw him, and our pitching coordinator saw him and there was really no reason for him to go to A-ball. He is polished enough for him to come here and succeed. That was the biggest issue. Send him somewhere that he's going to do well and everybody agreed that he can come to Double-A and do well.

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