Sunday, May 16, 2010

Interview: Jeff Manship

This post can also be found on my new website:

When did you first play baseball?
Jeff: I first started playing T-ball when I was five in a local Little League.
Dez: Did you play any other sports growing up?
Jeff: I played basketball up until high school. After completing my 8th grade season, I realized it was not in my best interest to pursue a career in basketball. Living in the warmer weather in south Texas allowed me the opportunity to play baseball year round so once basketball ended I played with several traveling teams in the fall and winter months.

Dez: What do you do when you're not playing baseball?
Jeff: I enjoy fishing, hunting, and playing video games.

Dez: Who was your favorite player to watch when you were growing up?
Jeff: What team did you grow up watching and cheering for?
Ken Griffey Jr. was my favorite player growing up. Since Griffey played for the Mariners, they were my favorite team to watch. During my first spring training with the Twins I got to pitch in a big league game against the Reds in Sarasota. The first hitter of the inning and first big league hitter that I ever faced was Griffey. It was one of the greatest moments getting to face my childhood hero.

Dez: How popular is baseball at Notre Dame?
Jeff: Although we always had a successful baseball team, we still had trouble gaining the same popularity as the football and basketball teams, but that was no surprise really. Kinda hard to compete with such a storied program like the football team. The cold weather really wasn't too favorable for the fans. The first month of our season was played down south, usually in tournaments in Texas and Florida.

Dez: What is the best part of your baseball career?
Jeff: I'd have to say all the friends I've made. The Twins have an organization filled with great guys and it’s been a pleasure getting to know them. Everybody has gotten along well on every
team that I've played for and that always makes things more fun.

Dez: What is the hardest of your career in baseball?
Jeff: The travel and being away from family for so long is probably the toughest aspect in professional baseball.

Dez: What is your greatest achievement so far?
Jeff: Receiving the call-up to the big leagues and earning my first victory against the Royals were my greatest achievements so far.

Dez: Is there a favorite player that you like to have play behind you?
Jeff: Probably Denard Span. He is a very gifted outfielder and has the ability to run down balls and make plays that many can't.

Dez: What is the hardest part about being a pitcher?
Jeff: I would say pitching effectively even when you know you don't have your best stuff that day. It happens to every pitcher, but you have to find a way to still get the job done. I feel like those are the days that really show what a pitcher has internally. You really have to fight and work so much harder to achieve favorable results.

Dez: If you were not a pitcher what position would you play?
Jeff: I'm not really sure about that. Maybe a DH. I used to play the middle infield and started pitching when I was 10. Once I began pitching, that's all I wanted to do. I would get more frustrated with myself for making an error in the infield than I would if I gave up a homerun. Maybe it was due to the fact that I felt like I was letting the pitcher down if I didn't make all the plays. When I was a senior in high school I played third base and made about five errors in three games. If I managed to catch the ball I'd throw a sinker to first base that usually bounced a foot in front of the first baseman. The coach and I decided it was probably not in either of our best interests for me to stay at third so I moved to DH when I wasn't pitching. I always enjoyed hitting and found some success in that role.

Dez: How was it coming up to the big leagues in August?
Jeff: It was a dream come true. I felt great knowing that I had accomplished a goal that I had set for myself at such a young age.

Dez: Did you learn anything while up in the Majors and if so how would this differ from what you could have learned down in Rochester?
Jeff: I was made aware of how necessary it is to throw more strikes. Hitters are much more patient and will make you work much harder. They don't make mistakes by swinging at bad pitches and helping you out. Also, hitters aren't afraid to hit with two strikes. I still had to make a very solid pitch to retire a hitter even when I was ahead in the count.

Dez: When did you start preparing for the 2010 season?
Jeff: I started working out right after the World Series ended. My workouts started out light and gradually built up over time.

Dez: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Is there an area you would like to improve in?
Jeff: I would definitely like to either make the team right out of spring training or get called up soon after. In addition, I'd like to establish myself as a reliable starter and stay with the team and out of the minors. An area I'd like to improve in would be to get ahead in counts more often and retire hitters with fewer pitches. I felt that I wasted too many pitches last season which prevented me from going deep into games.

No comments:

Post a Comment