The New York Mets were only in contention for much of this season owing to the weakness of their…
Q&A With Jose Diaz
The starting pitching for the B-Mets continues to impress. One of the most pleasant surprises has been Jose Diaz. Diaz, along with Kyle Strayhorn and Victor Diaz, came over from the Dodgers in the Jeremy Burnitz trade. Diaz has thrown 4 wild pitches and leads the team in walks but he is effectively wild. He throws in the mid 90's so his wildness keeps hitters from digging in too deep. His walks have been his biggest problem but he's 3-3 and his ERA is a respectable 3.70. Diaz's control has improved of late, though his problems are not yet completely solved. Before the game I sat down with Jose Diaz. NYF: What was it like when you found out you were traded? Diaz: I was sort of surprised because at that time it was the last day that anyone can be traded. We had a rainout that day. I went back to my apartment and I got a call on my cell phone. They [a teammate] told me I had been traded. I said, "I don't believe that." They told me it was true so I put on the sports channel in Jacksonville Florida and I see my name on the T.V and that's how I knew I was traded. NYF: Were you hurt that the Dodgers traded you, or honored that the Mets would want you? Diaz: I think when you get traded it means someone's been watching you and someone wants you on their team. So I mean it's a pretty good feeling to know somebody likes you. NYF: What pitches do you throw? Diaz: Fastball, Curveball, and a Changeup. NYF: Is there any one pitch that you like to use when you're in need of a strikeout? Diaz: My curveball. NYF: What's the fastest you have ever been clocked at? Diaz: 100MPH. NYF: So you use the fastball to set up the curveball? Diaz: Yeah. NYF: Have you ever played any other positions? Diaz: I played catcher and third base. NYF: When did you give that up and concentrate on pitching? Diaz: That was in 1996. NYF: I noticed you are wearing a ring on your finger. What's the ring from. Diaz: It's a championship ring. NYF: From where? Diaz: From last year in Florida when I was with the Dodgers. NYF: This is your first year in AA. How much of a difference do you notice? Diaz: The biggest difference is that there are better hitters up here. The guys up here all know how to make adjustments. If you make a mistake up here they hit it right away. In the lower levels, if you make one mistake sometimes you can get away with it. But up here you can't expect to throw a hanging curve and get away with it. NYF: You've had zero intentional walks so far in your professional career. Does that have to do with your demeanor and mentality on the mound? Do you feel like you can get anybody out at any time, or is it just one hell of a coincidence? Diaz: I think it's just the way things have worked out so far. I mean if the manager tells me to walk a guy I will, but so far that just hasn't happened. NYF: What's the one part of your game you feel you need to improve on the most to be ready for the major leagues? Diaz: Getting ahead in the count. NYF: What do you do to work on your control? Is it mental or are their physical things you do with your delivery to help keep you in the zone? Diaz: It's not so much mental. I work on my delivery and try and keep my release point consistently down so that the ball stays down and in the strike zone. NYF: You pitched in four games with the Mets this year during spring training. What was it like facing major leaguers? Diaz: It was a lot of fun. It was a great experience. NYF: Did you learn a lot? Diaz: Yeah, I had some very good experiences over there. NYF: Did you learn from the other veterans on the Mets team? Were you able to glean any wisdom from guys like Glavine and Leiter? Diaz: Yeah I was able to watch and to talk to those guys which was a good experience. NYF: Anything in particular that you learned? Diaz: Yeah, if you want to play with those guys you got to be consistent all the time. NYF: Was it hard for you to go from being a relief pitcher to a starting pitcher? Diaz: I think when you come out of the bullpen you have a short time to do all your things. As a starter you can pace yourself a little better. NYF: As a starter you have to face the lineup three or four times. Obviously as a reliever you'll probably only face it once. Does that make being a starter harder at all? Diaz: Ahhh, yeah that makes it kind of harder. But really they are very different aspects of the game. Being a starter and being a reliever are not the same even if they are both pitchers. NYF: Would you rather be a starter or a reliever? Diaz: I'd rather be a starter. I like working more innings. NYF: How much preparation do you and Huber do before the game? Do you go over every hitter? Diaz: Not really. I look over some hitters and stretch and that's it. NYF: Do you and Huber have a game plan when you go out there? Diaz: Yeah, and we go over our game plan before every start. NYF: What do you do on days when you're not pitching to keep your arm fresh? Diaz: On the second day after I pitch I throw about 40 pitches in the bullpen. NYF: Are you doing anything special for Father's Day? Diaz: Just come to the game, have some fun, do my work, and enjoy the game. NYfansonly.com would like to thank Joselo Diaz for taking the time to answer our questions.
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