Rays Prospect Q & A: Jake Thompson

I caught up briefly with pitcher Jake Thompson at the Rays Winter Development Program at Tropicana Field on Wednesday. He told me about his experience so far at the camp, what he was focusing on this off-season, how he felt about his 2011 season performance and then talked a little hockey.

Rays Digest: What's been your favorite part about the Winter Development Program so far?

Jake Thompson: Seeing all the Big League staff and talking to them again. And catching up with everybody I haven't seen since Instructs. I'm kinda seeing where I'm at and what I need to do to prepare for Spring Training. I'm getting a feel for how my body feels right now. The whole experience has been pretty positive.

Rays Digest: Is there any particular part of your game that your'e working on right now or are you just trying to get in shape for Spring Training?

Jake Thompson: Right now since we just started throwing, I'm concentrating on maintaining weight - keeping that down - and keeping the core strong so I can sustain a full season. I'm making sure that the joints are all healthy. So it's pretty much just keeping the body in shape right now. When we get closer to Spring Training I'll be focusing more on pitching and mechanics and all that.

Rays Digest: How pleased are you with the progress you made last year and what kinds of things are you going to try and improve upon this season?

Jake Thompson: Considering how the season went I'm happy. It was an up-and-down season for me. I was out for a month and then I had a string of minor injuries that didn't really help me at all in the last quarter of the season. So considering all that, I felt that I put up some pretty good numbers and gave my team a chance every time I went out there. I battled every time. I gave it all I had - whether it was 70 percent or 100 percent - I gave it all every time. So I was happy. This season the goal is to stay healthy all year and still give it all I have and hopefully make it to the next level by mid-season or even towards the end of the season. I just wanna stay healthy for the whole season.

Rays Digest: Did you go to the Lightning game last night with everybody else?

Jake Thompson: Yeah we had to leave after the second period. I think they wanted to get everyone back by ten. It was a really good game - after the first period - they came back in the second and were really strong.

Rays Digest: Are you a hockey fan?

Jake Thompson: Yeah. I grew up a (Anaheim) Ducks fan being from California. I used to play hockey. I was a goalie. So I understood the game. I was getting frustrated because they weren't handling the puck. When we got home I was like "Oh, man! We totally missed a great game!" It was fun.

John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.


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