TigsTown: Congratulations on being drafted by the Tigers! How does it feel?
Derek Kline: It's a big relief, and I'm very excited about the opportunity they have given me.
TT: Having just finished your junior year, are you planning to sign, or just going to feel things out and see what happen?
DK: I had an offer in the 12th round that I declined, and then the Tigers called me and said they were going to make me a ‘summer follow.' They're going to watch me for a couple of summer outings that I'll be pitching, and then see what type of contract they might like to put together.
TT: Where are you going to be pitching this summer?
DK: As of right now, it's between the New England League and the Valley League.
TT: Were you aware that the Tigers were interested and possibly going to pick you this week?
DK: I was aware. I threw for them twice, once in a game during college, and once in a workout with some other teams. I wasn't really expecting them to pick me though. Some other teams had contacted me more, and some teams that contact me during the draft, I didn't expect. But I guess the draft is very unpredictable.
TT:You just moved to the pitching mound this season. What prompted the move to the mound, and how do you think it went.
DK: Our pitching was really lacking last season when I just played first base. They asked me if I would try out on the mound, so I threw a bullpen to a catcher and they were pretty impressed. Ever since then I was on the mound at least part time.
TT: How would you describe yourself as a pitcher, and what do you bring to the table?
DK: I have a young, inexperienced arm. I have a lot to learn. I need to get my mechanics polished up. I have a big frame that I think I could use to generate a lot of potential.
TT: Did the area scout in Pennsylvania give you an feel for whether they were looking at you in a starting or relief role?
DK: He said I may be tried as a starter, but he said it is ultimately up to the player development guys, and what they feel is best for me.
TT: Looking back at your three years at Millersville, what would you say some of your highlights were?
DK: I was a redshirt sophomore, so I only played two years. Definitely when our team won the PSAC-East, was pretty exciting. We went to playoffs for the first time in five or six years. Helping get the program heading in the right direction, and hoping that keeps heading in the right direction, was a good thing. I had lots of personal achievements that I was able to accomplish, both on the mound and mostly at the plate, which were nice. It's all been a learning experience, and hopefully there is more to come.
TT: Speaking of your accomplishments at the plate, did you have any teams that were interested in you at the plate?
DK: I don't believe so, not from what everyone has been telling me.
TT: Do you have an desire to try and play first base at the next level, or are you looking forward to moving into that pitchers role full time?
DK: Since everyone has been looking at me as a pitcher and showing so much interest, as much as I hate to say it, I guess I'm going to have to give up my bat.
TT: Are there any final words you have for our readers out there that may be reading this piece?
DK: This is a great opportunity, and I thank the Tigers for drafting me, and giving me this opportunity to prove myself. Hopefully I can make the best of the chance they are giving me.
TigsTown would like to thank Derek for taking time out to speak with us, and we wish him the best of luck as he embarks on his pro career.