In contrast to his slow, plodding walk to and from the mound, the pace of his entrance to and exit from the press conference is brisk. He knows he will have to answer the same questions he has been peppered with for the past several years.
Q: What is your overall reaction to the outing?
A: I was pleased with it. I felt good. I was able to throw all of my pitches for strikes at different times in the count.
Q: Pain free?
A: Yep. Felt good.
Q: What’s next?
A: See how I feel tomorrow and go from there. Probably got one more and we’ll be ready to go.
Q: Can you taste it now?
A: It’s been a long time. A lot of hard work. A lot of headaches with this whole thing, but we’re at the point now of getting the pitch count up there. I would’ve liked to have gone six tonight but I ended up with 70, 71 pitches. We’ll bump it up by 15 more the next time and see how it goes.
Q: Do you wish you would have had that surgery sooner than August 31?
A: No, no. That’s looking back and nobody asked me that question when I was doing it. Everybody wants to ask me that question now that we’re a month into the season. If I bail out in August or early August of last year, then I get ridiculed for giving up on the team. I made the right decision. We went as long as we could with it and I did what I could to help the team.
Q: Do you feel more pressure each time you get injured and have to go through this?
A: No, I just have to be smarter and stay on top of my stuff. I put enough pressure on myself to go out there and pitch in big league ballgames. Any added pressure is unnecessary.
Q: Have you altered your mechanics?
A: I haven’t looked at tape since I’ve started throwing off the mound. I feel smooth. I feel pretty good. I’m not trying to overcompensate or do anything different. Just trying to stay smooth.
Q: Is it harder to assess your stuff throwing against single-A hitters?
A: A little bit. But you see today, the base hit I gave up, you make a mistake with the slider and anybody can hit it. I thought I made pretty good pitches tonight. I was impressed most with the location, like the fastball in the first few innings. And then the breaking stuff came in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
Q: Were you happy with velocity?
A: I don’t know what the velocity was.
Q: 92-97, consistently.
A: Yeah, pretty happy with that.
Q: What about your batting practice show?
A: I got to get back in there and start swinging the bat a little bit, try to get some bunts down. You don’t ever want to take this much time off and not see something from a live arm.
Q: How does your endurance feel?
A: I felt great. I didn’t get winded. I threw five innings five days ago in Arizona and it was 99 degrees and I felt pretty good. My wind seems to be good.
Q: Did you throw of all your pitches tonight?
A: I threw all of them. I actually threw a changeup tonight. I don’t throw too many of those. We’re mixing it all in. I threw curveballs, fastballs and changeups tonight.
Q: Where will your next start be?
A: I think Iowa. I need to go and get a few more pitches. I threw 70 tonight. I’d like to be at somewhere around 85-90.
Q: Who was in charge of the decision of when to pull you tonight?
A: I think Larry Rothschild was on the phone every inning.
Q: Is it fun to come back and play in a Class-A environment?
A: It’s never fun to be back here, but it’s a good town to come to. The fans are great. It was a fun night tonight.
Q: How did you get your 34 Jersey for the night?
A: I don’t even know who had this jersey. I think it was the biggest one they had.