An Interview with Brett Cecil

Monday, April 21 2008 @ 09:00 AM EDT

Contributed by: Gerry

Brett Cecil talked with Batters Box just over a week ago, the day before his second start.  Cecil has had two very good, albeit abbreviated, starts since then.  Cecil will build up his stamina over the next month and if things go well Cecil could be in AA in mid-season.  One of the interesting answers in this interview is that Cecil became a closer in college because he threw the hardest of the pitchers.  That's a simple way to pick your closer.

BB. First of all, How is your arm?

BC. I had a little problem during spring training and it set me back a little bit but I got a cortisone shot in the back of my shoulder and ever since then it has been feeling great.  They have me on a low pitch count, just to be safe, but I am looking forward to my start on Sunday.

BB. How many pitches were you limited to in your first start?

BC. 35 and I threw 33.  It will be 45 for my next start.

BB. At the start of this year, before the injury, did you have any specific goals for this year?

BC. Nothing specific, just stick to the mechanics.  They want me to speed up my wind-up motion which is understandable because it is kind of slow I guess.  I was a closer in college and when you are a closer you can be a little more deliberate in your delivery.  When you are starting you need to keep everyone in the game and get things moving and that's understandable so I am working on that.  I threw a bullpen yesterday and that went real well, I threw the last half of it from the wind-up, I sped everything up and was able to keep the ball down low.  That was made one of my goals recently to work on that and keep the ball low so I hope it goes well.

BB. Are you working on or adding any pitches this year?

BC. I was talking with BJ Ryan, we are fortunate to have him down here with us.  I was trying to throw a cutter, and I already have a slider which is kind of like the cutter, so I am going to stop working on the cutter and focus on the slider.  I have been trying to throw the slider backdoor to righthanders, so I spoke with him about it, said I couldn't really do it, told him I could only throw it inside to righties and outside to lefties.  So he said take a bit off and float it in there to the outside corner to righties.  He helped me out a lot.  That's another goal of mine to keep working on that pitch and hit the outside corner with it.

BB. It's always good to talk with other lefties.

BC. Yes, especially BJ Ryan.  He is a real cool guy, down to earth.  And he played in Baltimore which is where I am from so I got to see him play a lot. So it's good to have him down here.

BB. Did you know on draft day that you were going to become a starter?

BC. From what my agent said before the draft most teams saw me as a starter.  I think it's for the best, I like starting, I like being able to use all my pitches and I like being out there for more than one or two innings.

BB. How did you get to be a closer?

BC. I was always a starter in high school and I went to college as a starter and to play first base.  But it is tough to go both ways in college, you have to be a real athlete to do it, not saying I am not an athlete but it is a lot of hard work.  We had a new pitching coach my sophomore year in college and he came in and said whoever throws the hardest will be the closer and that happened to be me.  It was kind of weird at first, because we had to get to those innings, and our team was struggling at first, but it worked out well, the starters stepped up and we had a good real setup man in Seth Overbey who is with the Blue Jays in AA.

BB. When you started pitching in pro ball did you notice a big difference?

BC. Yes I did, obviously you have to hit your spots in both college and pro ball but if you hit your spots it is easier to pitch inside in pro with the wooden bats.  If you get inside on someone you break bats whereas in college they hit little pokes over the infield.  You get away from all tose duck-fart hits, it is a big difference.

BB. I know you have only had one start but have you noted any difference in the hitters here compared to Auburn?

BC. Yes definitely.  Especially in my first start although I did throw three times in spring training.  I noticed the hitters are a lot more patient at the plate, they don't swing at as many balls out of the zone.  It helps me as I have to hit my spots a little better, try to focus more on hitting inside and outside of the plate.  I think it will help me.

BB. Were you expecting to go to Dunedin to start the year?

BC. I talked with some of the older guys and they told me I was going to Dunedin.  I don't expect anything, I take what's given to me, and I go with that.  I am happy to be here in Dunedin and from what the older guys said in Lansing the hitters are pretty similar to Auburn so it's not as big a jump.  Being in Dunedin is more of a challenge so I am happy to be here.

Batters Box thanks Brett Cecil for talking with us.