Jason Cole: Edwin Escobar was perhaps your highest profile pitcher signed last year on July 2nd, and he got to pitch in Spring Training in the U.S. How do you feel he performed?
Jayce Tingler: I was very happy with Escobar. Again, he's a young kid at 16, getting ready to turn 17. He's a strong kid. Just like all our young guys, they need to run out on the mound and they need to get the game experience. A lot of times, that's what they're lacking.
We see them at tryouts and they throw a lot of tryout games -- they throw a lot of bullpens. But getting them out there and getting them a feel for the game with runners on and making big pitches with runners in scoring position -- that's what they've got to work on.
Cole: Johan Yan was signed as a third baseman, and he played a few years there before being converted into a pitcher late last season. He's in the Dominican right now, is that correct?
Tingler: Yeah, he's here working out right now.
Cole: How is he looking on the the mound so far? How far has he come since when he initially moved out there?
Tingler: I think he's doing very well. He's made a lot of progress. One thing that's special about Yan is that he's able to command some secondary pitches right off the bat from getting on the mound. Sometimes that's tough to do, to be able to spin your curveball for a strike and command a changeup when you're converting positions. Obviously his fastball is pretty good.
But I think since Yan is such a good athlete from playing a little shortstop and a lot of third base, I think that's been an easier transition for him to be able to take the mound and make those adjustments. He's got a feel for his body and has body control.
Cole: I remember you speaking highly of Anyenil Mendoza when I talked to you last year, and I was a little surprised he wasn't in the U.S. for Spring Training. Do you know what was behind the decision to leave him in the Dominican?
Tingler: I think we just had some other guys that had really stepped their game up. I don't want to say they passed him because I don't think that's the case, but some other guys had been working very hard. For example, the Ezequiel Rijo's and those guys.
It just depends on how much room, how much space, they have in the United States. But we still believe a lot in Anyenil Mendoza and he's going to pitch here until we hear otherwise. Hopefully he'll continue to working hard and maybe the next wave of guys, if something opens up in the states, I would think Anyenil may be in consideration for that.
Cole: When Spring Training is going on in the U.S., there are obviously a ton of players that have to be left in the Dominican Republic. Is there anything going on at the Dominican complex during that time?
Tingler: We did something a little different this year with our local Dominican kids. We had our coaches coming in Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Basically we let the kids do a little bit of long toss. The main thing we wanted to do was open up the gym for those guys. The guys had been working hard before Spring Training, and we certainly didn't want to shut the door on them with not being able to lift.
So our coaches came in and opened the gym for those guys and guys were allowed to work out and continue what they were doing through Spring Training. Coming back here and getting to see, it was outstanding not to see the kids lose eight or ten pounds. They basically maintained everything they've been putting on. It was very good to see and hopefully we'll continue that in the years to come.
Cole: For guys like Richard Alvarez and Guillermo Pimentel that were able to come to the U.S. for Spring Training, how much of an honor is that for them? How do they receive being able to go to the States and see the big club and those sorts of things?
Tingler: It's definitely an honor. And it is -- it's a big deal for those kids. They've been working out hard for the last year or two, and that is one of their goals -- to get to the States. Now we hope that it's not even close to being their ultimate goal.
Making it to the United States and playing in Arizona or Spokane -- hopefully that is not their goal. Their goal is to get to the big leagues and then contribute on a winning or championship team in the bigs. So hopefully they're not satisfied and they're not content with just getting to the States.
Cole: None of the position players from last year's July 2nd class are in the States right now, are they?
Tingler: No, they are all right here.
Cole: Are any of them in particular really catching your eye right now?
Tingler: We have a group of them. We're very excited about our July 2nd guys. Obviously you got to see a little of Esdras Abreu at Instructional League -- an outfielder. Teodoro Martinez is another outfielder. They are an interesting group. They're young and they're very talented.
I think after talking to Scott and A.J., the goal is to -- since they are young and talented -- we'd like to play them together and see if they can win. We want them to win together and hopefully they come up as a group. Hopefully a bigger group rather than a smaller group.
We're very excited about the young group we have with Teodoro Martinez, Esdras, and there are seven or eight players that are very interesting, but young.
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Jayce Tingler (Part 2)
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