Prospect Interview: Jeff Manship Part I

In Part 1 of a two-part interview, Josh Johnson sits down with top Twins pitching prospect Jeff Manship. In Part 1, Manship answers questions about his Tommy John Surgery, who he looked up to as a kid, who influenced him as a kid, what it was like playing at Notre Dame, what kind of pressure there is to play pro ball, and much more.

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TwinCitiesDugout: Growing up in Texas, what team did you follow when you were growing up? Who was your favorite player?

Jeff Manship: I never really had a specific team that I would always follow when I was young. The Astros were the closest team to San Antonio so I followed them the most. I also enjoyed watching the Mariners with Ken Griffey, Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson, and Edgar Martinez. My favorite player growing up was Ken Griffey Jr.

TwinCitiesDugout.com: (Sorry if this is a hard thing to talk about, but) you had TJ surgery in College, what exactly was wrong with your forearm? What was the hardest part about rehab? And does a player need to stick to a strict program while recovering?

Jeff Manship: I first felt discomfort in my elbow while playing for Team USA in the summer after my senior year of high school. We were playing in a tournament in Curacao, Netherland Antilles and in the 4th inning of a game against Venezuela I injured my arm. I threw a fastball and immediately my whole forearm and elbow tightened up. I followed with 3 more pitches and they all felt the same so I pulled myself out of the game. I never heard the infamous "pop" of my ligament tearing so I did not believe any serious damage had occurred. I ended up having Tommy John surgery in February of my freshman year.

The hardest part about the rehab was how monotonous it got. The pain was never too severe. The only discomfort I felt was in the early stages when trying to stretch my elbow out and remove the scar tissue. If you want a full recovery it is wise to strictly follow the program. I was determined to come back 100% so I made sure to do everything correctly. I was also informed that I could possibly come back throwing harder so that provided extra incentive to work hard.

TCD: Who has influenced you the most in your career?

Jeff Manship: My father has been my biggest influence both on and off the field. He taught me how to pitch when I was 10 and has continued to provide helpful advice. In addition, my pitching coach in high school and former professional pitcher, Ben Van Ryan, was a very influential coach in my life. My brother, Matt, was very important. He has served as a role model throughout my life and continues to be a person that I greatly admire.

TCD: You went to Notre Dame, what were your best memories while playing for such a great program?

Jeff Manship: The tradition of the school is amazing. Hearing the fight song before every game was great. I always loved everyone on the team. We were very close-knit and that helped us to be successful.

TCD: At Notre Dame, what was your major?

Jeff Manship: Economics with a minor in Computer Applications.

TCD:What has been the most difficult part of pro baseball? Best part?

Jeff Manship: The most difficult part is the repetiveness. Playing everyday and having few off days can be tough. The best part about professional baseball is the independence. If I want to succeed I have to be willing to put in the time and effort. In pro ball I am handled as an adult with my own responsibilities.

TCD:If you weren't playing baseball, what other profession would you want to be?

Jeff Manship: I have no idea what my profession would be if I was not playing baseball. I actually have not put a huge amount of thought into it yet. Hopefully baseball will carry me a long way and provide a great career.

TCD: What do you like to do in your free time?

Jeff Manship: I play video games, swim, and fish in my off time.

Part II will be Premium, so sign up today to read the rest of our interview with one of the top pitching prospects in all of Minor League Baseball.

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