RC Interview with Chris Nicoll

Although Chris Nicoll was just 4-9 with Burlington last season, he boasted a 2.82 ERA for the Bees, and his 140 strikeouts led the club. On Thursday, Nicoll pitched in the High-A spring training game vs. the Texas Rangers. After his appearance, RC's Chris Ray caught up with Nicoll to discuss his progress.

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Royals Corner: Chris, how'd you feel about your performance [Thursday]?

Chris Nicoll: It was brutal. It's spring training, and it was one of those days. I threw strikes, but not good strikes. We're taught to pound the strike zone low in the zone, and I was up in the zone all day. I got away with a lot of mistakes today because it's still spring training. But that performance at midseason would have been a lot uglier.

RC: So do you still feel like you're a little bit further away from where you wish you were, or do feel good with where you are right now in spring training?

CN: I don't feel terrible, and I don't feel great. It's just one of those things, and we'll see what happens. It could have been worse. It's a good thing it's spring training for the hitters too. It's been awhile since I pitched in a game like that. There were good things and bad things, and I just need to learn from the bad things and build on the good things.


Nicoll's results on Thursday were good, but he wasn't happy with his performance

RC: Could you talk about what you did during the offseason to prepare for this year?

CN: I just lifted weights, mostly, and then I picked up the conditioning with a month to go just to get into running shape and cardiovascular shape. I started throwing the last month and a half. I started out easy and just built up. I started longtossing, and I threw a couple of pens during the offseason. But mostly the weight training is the most intense training during the offseason.

RC: When we talked to you last year, you talked about moving to the right side of the rubber and developing a breaking pitch as an out pitch. How's that coming along?

CN: I'm getting more comfortable from the right side. Especially since I had the offseason, and now coming back, it hasn't been as big of a deal. Before I was pitching on the left, the left, the left, and then I went right over to the right at midseason. It was kind of weird, because I was used to the angles from the left side of the rubber. But now, after an offseason, you forget about about those things and come back on the right side. It makes it easier, and it's not as big an adjustment. I don't really remember what the left side was like as much. It's been pretty smooth so far in spring training.


Nicoll is starting to get comfortable pitching from the right side of the rubber

RC: Have the Royals given you any idea where you might start this year?

CN: They haven't talked to me, but I'm pretty sure it will be High-A (Wilmington). That's just my guess.

RC: What are you looking to accomplish this year?

CN: Same thing every year – just to get better. Just work on the things you can control, and other than that, just throw strikes.

RC: Is there one particular breaking pitch that you're working on?

CN: We actually cut out the slider for now, just to try to develop the curveball, to make it better. But yeah, I'm definitely working on the curveball.

RC: With the turnover in the front office, are there any noticeable differences in spring training this year compared to last year?

CN: I don't know if it's just because I've been here a year, and I know all the guys, but this year seems more competitive to me. I know that there's just a lot of talent here right now, so it's hard to win a spot. It feels more competitive to me. I don't know if that's because of the new management, or because I know all the players so I know how tough the competition is. But it seems like they're definitely here to win, so I feel a difference.

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