Notable Quotables: Burning down the house
By Jake Seiner
The game story isn’t always the best place for block quotes and expanded thoughts, so once a week, I’m hoping to come here with a look back at some of the more interesting conversations I stumble upon with Minor League players and coaches. Here’s a look back at some quotes from the past week that I hope you’ll find of interest.
Blue Jays’ prospect Andy Burns on his unique path to pro ball (Burns does double damage in seventh):
“It was definitely a pretty crazy experience. I went up to the Cape after my sophomore year after having my scholarship pulled at Kentucky, and I had a good summer up there. Obviously, there were tons of good scouts there, and I know they saw me play.
“I ended up going to Arizona, and I was close to winning my eligibility. I think there’s a seven-person committee, and I lost out by one vote, the swing vote. I had spent my whole fall preparing as if I would play, and I didn’t find out I wouldn’t until two or three weeks before the season started. Scouts had seen me in the fall, though.
“I definitely thought it would be more of a draft-and-follow type of deal, but the Blue Jays liked me. Blake Crosby, our area scout out there, came out to see me play in intrasquads and see me in [batting practice] and stuff. I went to workout in California for the Blue Jays and did well there.
“I thought it would be a draft-and-follow deal, but they picked me in the 11th round and got me the money I was asking for. It was unfortunate I had to wait to sign because it was an overslot deal, so it took a while to get done, which delayed me getting started. I couldn’t be happier.”
“[Richie Hebner and I] kind of decided to limit some of the movement in my swing and get started a little earlier. I was really late and getting beat by pitches that, down in Florida, I wouldn’t get beat by. I made adjustments with my movement and my swing and shortening it up so it’s not quite as loud, per se. That’s something that over the last four or five days, I’ve been working with. It seems to be helping.”
Brewers prospect Andy Moye on adjusting to Double-A (Stars’ Moye loses no-hit bid in ninth):
“One thing I’ve learned with this league that I didn’t do early on is just attacking these hitters. It’s my first year in Double-A, and it’s a learning experience, as coach says sometimes. I’ve learned to attack guys and just try to pound the zone with all my pitches and see what happens. I didn’t get ahead quite as well in the outing before, but I had similar results. I’m just trying to go right at guys. I think that’s been the term for me this year.”
Tigers prospect Drew VerHagen on his work with Erie pitching coach Jaime Garcia (VerHagen pitches three-hit shutout):
“Jaime’s helped me a lot. The first couple of weeks, he was just kind of evaluating. In my bullpens, he’s helped me a lot with my off-speed pitches, my curve and my changeup. We’re doing certain drills before the [bullpen session], and that has helped a lot.
“I think my goal is to keep improving those pitches so I can throw them in any count at any time in the game. I want to throw them for strikes and throw them to whatever location I want.
“I think Jaime and my High-A pitching coach Mike Maroth have both helped a lot. Jaime put in specific drills to work on the curve and the change that I think have definitely helped with staying consistent and throwing the ball for strikes.”