in case you missed it, anthony reyes is headed to the dl with shoulder tendinitis -- the third summer in a row that he's missed time with a sore shoulder.
i just got my interview with memphis pitching coach dyar miller back from the transcriber and haven't had time to go through the whole thing and format it, clean up the typos, etc. but in light of today's news, i'm going to extract all the reyes commentary from the interview and run it today; will save the rest of our discussion for another day.
the interview took place last saturday, june 11 -- two days before reyes' last start.
VEB: Let me ask you first, it looks like Reyes missed a start. Is there something wrong with him?
MILLER: Oh, he had a slight impingement in his shoulder. He's okay. He's going to pitch Monday.
VEB: So he just skipped one turn but no big deal, nothing to worry about?
MILLER: No, he threw a side yesterday. He looked good. We just thought - you know, it's the time of year where starters are getting a little arm weary, and I think he's a little tired. He's thrown a lot of pitches, and we just want to give him a little break. It just worked out. We had an off day and we could move him back, and so it worked out real good to give him a couple extra days' rest. He said his arm was just a little tired, but I think he's ready to go.
VEB: Tell me a little bit about his repertoire in general. What are his best pitches? What kind of pattern does he throw to get people out?
MILLER: Well he likes to throw fastballs. That's his best pitch. Unfortunately he thinks he can throw it high and get it by guys. But, you know, he could throw it 96, 97 (mph) and you may not get it by guys if it's up. We say you got to pitch down -- more of a downhill plane. He kind of gets under the ball and pushes up. But anyway Anthony's fastball is his best pitch, and he has a curve and a changeup. He's a three-pitch pitcher, basically.
VEB: What does he need to work on to get ready to pitch in the major leagues?
MILLER: We're trying to get him to get the ball down a little bit. His pitches have been up a little lately, and you got to pitch more consistently down in the zone. We've made a little minor adjustment -- I think he needs to get his elbow up a little bit so he throws downhill. That's what we've been working on in the sides the last couple of days -- getting his elbow up as high as his shoulder so he gets a little more tilt on the ball.
VEB: Is he a coachable player?
MILLER: You know what, he's a real student of the game. Works hard; vigorous workouts. He's got tunnelvision. He's pretty sharp, he's dedicated. He's got some goals set on pitching in the big leagues.
VEB: Is Reyes the kind of pitcher that can throw a second- or third-best pitch from behind in the count and get it over? Could he throw a curve on 2-1 or 3-1 and count on it for a strike?
MILLER: The way I look at it, some days you can and some days you can't. I think in the big leagues you'll see some pitchers that can one day and can't the next day. It kind of depends on your feel that day. But I have seen him do it before. He throws his curveball inside, he throws it outside; h throws changeups to both sides of the plate. So I think he could do it on a given day, but some days - I know myself as a pitcher, some days you just didn't have a feel for a certain pitch and you couldn't do it that day, but the next day you could. As a pitcher, you got to learn to work with what you have that day. If you don't have your curveball one day, you got to pitch with your changeup and fastball. So that's part of the learning process.
VEB: Anything else he really needs to work on?
MILLER: He's got to be more consistent in pitching to a zone. The better hitters will take those pitches instead of swinging at them; they got a pretty good eye and they take pitches that are just out of the strike zone. That's ball one and ball two, and before you know it you have to groove one. But the biggest thing is pitching down, getting groundball outs. See, he throws I'd say around belt high, and what happens is he gets a lot of foul balls. Before you know it he's got 100 pitches in five innings. We're trying to get him with a little tilt on the ball, hopefully sink a little bit. He'll get ground balls instead of foul balls, get some quick outs and quick innings.
VEB: It seems as though he has a pretty good opportunity to win a job in the st louis rotation next year. Just looking at the salaries of the guys the have now and that sort of thing, it seems likely that at least one of the current group won't be back next year. Do those kinds of considerations come up at all?
MILLER: No. I just tell hin, about every other day: You're going to pitch in the big leagues somewhere, probably next year. And you need to hone your skills as much as you can down here. Don't worry about going up this year. Hone your skills down here and be ready to succeed when you get to the big leagues. You should be there if you stay healthy. You should be there next year or soon after. So do as much as you can down here; focus on what you got to do and see what happens next year. And be ready to compete when you get up there.