Michael Baron: Last year was a struggle for you - a lot of ups and downs beginning in Spring Training. What are some of the physical and mental challenges you battled with last year?
Mike Pelfrey: The biggest problem I had was I gave up way too many home runs. I think thats a product of the ball simply not being down. The sinker wasn't that good, and when the ball is at the waste, it won't move and it won't sink. I emphasized throwing it during the off-season, and the movement is back. It's going to be important in camp now, and during the season later.
Michael Baron: Did you lose confidence in the sinker?
Mike Pelfrey: I don't think I ever lost confidence in it - it's my bread and butter. The effectiveness of it diminished, and the movement just wasn't there. The ball was up a lot more and it tends not to sink when it's thigh high. I played with a lot of different grips last year to try and find it. This winter, I finally found it, it works, and the movement is back.
Michael Baron: Could some of your struggles be attributed to your delivery, or even fatigue?
Mike Pelfrey: I don't think so. After 2010, I wanted to take that next step. I didn't feel any outside pressure - it was personal. But I tried to do too much and more than I was capable of last year, and whenever a pitcher does that, the results typically aren't that good. I was caught up in doing that a lot, and I struggled, and then I tried even harder the next game and everything snowballed. At the end of the day, I had a bad year in 2011.
Michael Baron: In the off-season, you said you worked hard on the sinker. What sort of fundamental exercises did you do to help refine that pitch?
Mike Pelfrey: I messed around with a lot of grips in order to find that pitch again. In trying to develop other pitchers, I slowly moved my arm up, and so I had to find a consistent arm angle again. I got it back, and the ball is down, and when it's down, it sinks.
Michael Baron: I thought last year your delivery was inconsistent - sometimes you looked like you were rushing, sometimes you were slowing things down. Did you see that?
Mike Pelfrey: Yes, and Dan Warthen brought that up to me. He said my delivery got too fast when I would throw my off-speed pitches. Some people do that with their off-speed pitches - they try to speed their delivery up, and slow their arm down. Sometimes with runners on, I'd be worried about the stolen base and I would rush home as a result. I have thought about it and I've tried to stay the same. I need to get better at that, but hold runners on better as well. I need to vary my moves better to try and keep them close but also not rush. Otherwise, location suffers.
Michael Baron: It wasn't too long ago you were one of these younger guys here in camp. Is there anyone here who reminds you of yourself, and anyone who has stood out to you so far?
Mike Pelfrey: I haven't seen Matt Harvey or Jeurys Familia on the field yet, since I'm not on the same bullpen rotation as they are. As soon as games start I can better judge. When you look at guys who have all that hype, you have to look at how they handle themselves, and they've handled themselves very well so far.[/jbox]