Teagarden excels at Futures Game

ROUND ROCK, TX - Less than one week ago, catcher Taylor Teagarden represented the Rangers at the MLB All-Star Futures game in New York. On Friday, he received his first big league call-up and will join the Rangers in Minnesota for this weekend's series. Lone Star Dugout interviewed the native Texan earlier in the week.

Even though Taylor Teagarden has spent the last four days enoying the Pacific Coast League's All-Star break, this past week has been possibly the busiest of his life.

Teagarden traveled to New York last weekend to participate in Sunday's MLB All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. The backstop was impressive in the nationally televised event, as he drew a walk in his only plate appearance and gunned down a pair of would-be base stealers with perfect throws.

The 24-year-old returned to Round Rock for Monday night's game, where he singled once in four at-bats. During the All-Star break, Teagarden received word that he would represent the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China.

After enjoying two days off, Teagarden then learned he would be joining the Rangers and traveling to Minnesota for Friday night's series opener against the Twins.

Lone Star Dugout caught up with Teagarden after Monday night's game against the Express, just one day after he appeared in the Futures Game in New York.

Jason Cole: First off, what did it mean to you to just be named as one of the Rangers' representatives for the MLB Futures Game?

Taylor Teagarden: It was cool. I don't know exactly who selects it, how the process works, or how they get the team together, but it's an honor to be thought of as one of the better minor leaguers around. To represent the United States team in the Futures Game, it's a great experience. You get to play with good ballplayers from other organizations and we had a great time being in New York.

Cole: What was that experience like, stepping on to the field at Yankee Stadium for the first time?

Teagarden: It was awesome. I had never been to New York. Being in that stadium, it's a pretty big stadium. It kind of engulfs you with the third level all the way around. It kind of takes you by surprise at first, but once the game starts you kind of settle in and get used to it.

Cole: Did you have any nerves going into the game?

Teagarden: Yeah. When I stepped on to the field, I was a little bit nervous. There was a lot of media and everything. I just wanted to go stretch, hit, and get loose for the game. But once the game started I felt fine.

Cole: You got a walk in your only at-bat. Can you take me through that at-bat and tell me a little about your thought process going into it?

Teagarden: A lot of guys are swinging at first pitches. In that inning, there were two outs and the guy had gotten two outs on about four pitches, so I wanted to see a fastball or at least the first pitch. He threw me a heater, I saw it, and then I swung through the next fastball. He threw me some stuff in the dirt and a couple of hanging breakers for balls. I just worked the count full and he threw another fastball in the dirt. I got to get on base with a walk. Anything to try and get our club going, trying to start a rally.

Cole: You were able to throw out two runners from behind the plate. Going into that game, you got very little time to spend with the pitchers on your team. What, if anything, did you guys discuss before the game?

Teagarden: I told the guys in the bullpen we were going to go first sign no matter what. We just got our signs together. These guys all have great arms and a lot of their stuff is similar. I've caught a lot of pitchers at this point and there is nothing crazy to catch a guy that you haven't seen in awhile. It's just trying to get those pitchers, to get them to calm down a little bit and get the win.

Cole: You got back here pretty fast, playing with the RedHawks the day after the Futures Game. How long were you in New York for?

Teagarden: Saturday, Sunday and I guess Monday morning I flew back. So, two days.

Cole: After a long first half, how does it feel to finally be at the All-Star break?

Teagarden: I couldn't wait for this All-Star break. I'm going to go home and relax and not think about baseball for a few days. I'm going to go play some golf, see some of my buddies that I haven't seen in awhile, and just hang loose.

Cole: How do you feel about your season here with the RedHawks?

Teagarden: It's going okay. I feel great catching. My arm is feeling as good as it has ever felt in my whole life. I'm really happy about that. Physically, I feel alright. Offensively, I've got to work on some things. I'm not doing what I should be doing. It's just a matter of time. I know we're getting to the latter part of the year, but hopefully I can turn it around and start producing numbers like I did last year.

Cole: What are some of those things that you need to work on offensively?

Teagarden: I need to get my hands ready to hit. I've got a few flaws prior to my actual swing that I've got to clean up. Just get myself a chance to hit. I think I'm missing too many fastballs right now that I should be crushing. That's it. Just get yourself in a hitter's count and let the rest take care of itself.

Cole: What are you looking for personally in the second half of the season?

Teagarden: I'm just looking to take off of what I'm doing right now. I feel good catching, I'm catching a lot. I feel good and I just want to continue working on my offense, keep working hard, and finish this season strong. Whatever happens, happens.

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