Draft Buzz: Q&A with Dustin Sasser

Left-hander headed to Boise

Two years removed from Tommy John Surgery, left-hander Dustin Sasser led East Carolina's starting pitching staff with a 3.52 ERA in 94 2/3 innings this past season in Conference USA. The Cubs' 21st-round draft pick now heads to Boise for the start of short-season play in the Class A Northwest League.

What did you spend this past season at ECU working on?

Early in the fall, we worked on my fastball command a lot. We really tried to work on my (slider) and I think that's the biggest improvement I've had. The year before last, it was more like a slurve. This year, they changed my grip and wanted me to start throwing it as hard as I could. It's really worked out.

How would you describe your style of pitching?

I wouldn't call myself a power lefty; I'd probably say I'm finesse. I still try to establish my fastball and work off of it.

What does your full repertoire consist of?

I've got a four- and two-seam fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Which of those do you consider your out-pitch?

It all depends on the day. Some days, if my changeup is working really well, I'll keep working it in early. If not, I like to go with my slider.

You missed all of your 2005 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Where were you when your elbow first sidelined you?

I threw one pitch, a 2-2 changeup, against St. Louis. I felt a burning sensation, but finished the inning. I thought it wasn't necessarily one pitch that did it and that it was just the wear and tear of my elbow over the years.

Was there ever any thought about moving to the bullpen once you had the surgery?

No, not really. After I came back, me and Coach (Billy) Godwin set down in his office. The question came up, but he thought the best spot on the team would be as a starter.

What role do you think the Cubs see you in?

I don't really know yet. I was told that if I went ahead and got down (to Mesa) and got some good bullpens in that maybe I could start. I haven't really been told my role yet.

Now that you've signed, what are some of the things you've done in Arizona to lead up to Boise?

We had our first practice (on Thursday). I threw a 20-pitch bullpen, did some PFP's and some conditioning. That's been about it.

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