Mark Redman made his first start as a RedHawk on Tuesday while John Mayberry and Taylor Teagarden…
Mark Redman Interview
REDMAN: Yeah it beats throwing in my pitching tunnel back at home and trying to simulate hitters and everything. I felt good. All along I've been keeping up with what other pitchers were doing, inning-wise and pitch count-wise and trying to simulate that at home on my pitching mound. When the opportunity opened, it looked like a good opportunity for me to step right up in there and make a good impression to make a team.
REPORTER: Who did you have hitting against you in simulated games?
REDMAN: I don't have anybody. I had a neighbor try to take some batting practice off me, and he sure did make me feel good.
REPORTER: How surprised were you to be home on March 9th?
REDMAN: Well I was surprised back on February 15th when the teams started playing. You sort of view a market, and you can't change the perception that is on you by the scouting departments on different teams. The only way to change it is by having an opportunity to pitch for a good team and basically change that perception out on that mound.
REPORTER: I guess no one can have more motivation than you have right now.
REDMAN: I love it too because I tell you what it stinks going into March 9th not knowing who you're going to be with. At the same token, it was very motivating. You just have to make the best of it and learn from your mistakes or experiences during the course of free agency. I think if you look at it more of an opportunity because it opens up different doors in the way you think and the way you approach the game. You do not want you to take it for granted.
REPORTER: When you heard Mike Hampton got injured, did a little light go off in your head?
REDMAN: Actually we've tried to call Atlanta all along, even before Mike went down. I've played in the National League East and had good success. I had success in Turner Field. The two years I've been in the National League I've pitched well. I just need to be on a good solid defensive and run producing team and I think that's what the Braves have to offer. With this revamped bullpen, I think when my pitch count is up or when Bobby comes and gets the ball out of my hand we can finish strong.
REPORTER: What was the interest from the teams during the winter?
REDMAN: I think it was more touch and feel. I think with all the big free agency signings, you're ceiling starts going up. You're like, ‘well if this guy got that much and he had this ERA similar,' then you're like, ‘well shoot, I had a winning record on a losing team.' The ERA wasn't that great. I also came back early from an injury. I wasn't quite ready. In your eyes you start seeing these guys getting these dollar figures and what you would have signed for at the end of the season versus what you're seeing out there, you're ceiling just goes up. It's the way your eyes see it, but in actuality it's not the way the important eyes see it. It is what it is, in that sense. I don't know why it didn't work out or the interest wasn't there. But this is the way you create interest is having this great motivation. You just can't take things for granted. You sure appreciate things when something like this happens.
REPORTER: Do you think being with the Royals last year had anything to do with it?
REDMAN: No. I don't think being with the Royals at all hurt me. I was having fun there. I had a winning record there. The ERA wasn't great, but it was probably the best hitting division that I had to pitch in and facing these teams. I've dealt with some issues. I dealt with my knee issue. I dealt with the issue of the cancer with my mom. Then the two surgeries my dad had, two life-threatening surgeries in June. I had a lot of things to deal with. I'm not trying to throw excuses out. But one thing I wanted to say was I picked up a cutter on August 16th. Stats don't know when I picked this up. They don't know the kind of success I had with this. I picked it up and had eight games with it. During these eight games, I had one bad game. One bad game; unfortunately I gave up nine runs and only got one out. But take that out of the factor and in those other seven games is a 3.78 ERA facing the Twins twice, Toronto, Oakland, Boston, and Chicago; facing teams that are stacked. So I look stuff like that to encourage me to be motivated about what you have to offer. I finished the season strong with this new pitch looking forward to this season. I was more prepared for this season than any year in my career, but I just didn't have a team.
REPORTER: Did adding that cutter make you feel more of a complete pitcher?
REDMAN: Yeah I threw a shutout against the Twins with it. I came back two starts later and threw eight innings with two runs against the Twins with it. I threw well against Chicago with it. It is just a really strong pitch to incorporate. It compliments the fastball inside. It keeps them from diving for it. Even if I get behind, I'd throw the cutter and it looks like it's coming right down the middle and it starts cutting into the inner part of the plate on righties. They're getting themselves out by leaning over. It opened up a whole new avenue for me. It seemed to work well. The scouting department and teams don't know when I picked that up. If only they had asked, "hey when did you pick that up?' I guess I'm more optimistic in a way of thinking about things. I look at the positive side of things and build off that. But you have to throw the nine run game out equation.
REPORTER: How did that pitch work today?
REDMAN: I hit two guys with it. It didn't feel pretty good. At least I didn't walk anyone. It's a touch-and-feel pitch. With the adrenaline that was out there with me, excited to be in camp, with the lack of sleep… I got on the plan last night at 5:00 and I got into my hotel at 4:00 this morning. I had airline troubles and rental car troubles. With that said, I had my alarm set at 8:00 am and had to go take a physical.
REPORTER: What do you think the scout's perceptions of you were?
REDMAN: I have no idea. It's sort of like what one writer may be saying about you versus what another writer might be saying about you. It's the same with the perception of scouts. Some scouts might see you as a decent pitcher, while others might view you differently. It is what it is. The only way around it is proving it out there, and that's the motivation that I have. It's nothing to prove to anyone, but I've just got to show myself and appreciate this part of the game. You can't take this for granted. It opens up your eyes in a respect factor for the game and how much you really do love the game. I'm 33, and by all means that's not that old. You look at the positives and look at the lefties, for instance Tommy Glavine and Jamie Moyer, Boomer (David Wells) who is 43. That shows the positive influences I look at.
REPORTER: Why did you want to pitch today?
REDMAN: Well this was Mike Hampton's turn in the rotation. All along I've been telling people that I was keeping up. Not to prove it, but to show how dedicated I am and that I am ready. It's not just all talk to try to get a contract. I went to and tried so hard to get a flight out yesterday and ended up on the very last one I could get out. I would have been very upset if I had gotten stuck in Detroit. But I was really happy to get here. Even today they were like, ‘we know you got in at 4 (am) and we know you haven't eaten. You just got blood taken out of your arm. Do you really want to pitch?' And I said, ‘absolutely.' I was real excited to go. I can sleep later. I think they're excited to. They know I wanted the ball today. I was up for the task, and I think they appreciate that. But that's what I wanted to do. I want to get out and be out where I belong – a baseball field.
REPORTER: Did you almost get stuck in Detroit?
REDMAN: Our flight was delayed. I ran from concourse A to C. If you know Detroit, it's a huge airport. I did get some throwing in yesterday, but I got my running in at the Detroit airport. So it worked out well.
REPORTER: What made you successful in 2003 with the Marlins?
REDMAN: When you're on a team that is playing good defense behind you and scoring some runs, it makes a huge difference. I mean last year I was on a team that lost 100 games, but when I was out there pitching they were scoring runs. I don't have to worry about them scoring runs and I don't have to worry about them playing defense. You look at the previous year when I was with Pittsburgh I was 14 out of 14 starts were quality starts to start the season. Fourteen in a row and I had four wins. I had like a 4-8 record with like a 3.78 ERA before the All Star Break. You're sitting there saying, ‘what do I need to do?' I lost a game against San Francisco, pitched the full game, and we lost 2-1. I gave up the two runs and got the only RBI. It was real frustrating and toward the end of the season you try to do more. You're like, ‘I can't let this happen.' Last year all I needed to worry about was pitching. It's just a confident, comfortable level when you're on a good team. Good vibes flow, and that's what we had in Florida. You have good vibes and then you start winning. When one guy wins, the other guy goes out there and tries to win. You just build off it. It's probably the same thing they had here in the 90s with Smoltz, Glavine, and Mad Dog. It's just a good vibe. I truly believe that plays a big part in making an average pitcher a better pitcher.
REPORTER: So for a guy who has been with a different team almost every year, is there a different feeling?
REDMAN: Just the history alone – what fourteen division titles? I played against them in Florida. They end up winning in every year. They just speaks for itself. You want to be apart of that. You want to be on a team that has success and a tradition of winning instead of trying to find a way to win. They just expect it here.
REPORTER: Is that why this is the perfect fit for you?
REDMAN: There were other offers. There was no major league guaranteed offers, and that's what we were looking for. There were definitely more offers that had more upside financially – over double or triple what I got here. If 11-10 didn't get you anything, what's to say I go to this team they don't have a chance to win but they're giving me more money. What's that going to do for me to have more of an opportunity in the future? It's not about money, but about opportunity. You want to put yourself in an opportunity to continue pitching. Financially, it's going to be there. Even if it's league minimum, most doctors don't even make that. So greed aside and money aside, you want to be on a good team that gives you an opportunity to be out there and pitch. What I have to offer is I'm going to take the ball every five days and I averaged 185 innings on 30 starts a year for the last five years. That's what I have to offer. You put me on a good team, and if the team scores run, I'll give this team a chance to win.
REPORTER: It sounds like – with that new pitch – that it had to make you wonder what you can do as a Brave with that new stuff.
REDMAN: I was excited coming in, until I hit two guys. But I wasn't on too much sleep and had tremendous adrenaline and was excited to be in a uniform. It is just a feel pitch. Not to walk anyone the first time I'm out there is the tremendous thing. I fell behind some hitters, but I went out there and you know I'm a location type pitcher.
REPORTER: Do you feel in the next three weeks you'll be able to feel good about that new pitch?
REDMAN: Yeah because of the type of workouts and bullpens I've been throwing during the offseason. I started a little bit earlier because I wanted to get a feel for this new pitch so I would be ready for it at the first of April. It's coming along well. It's just about getting in front of major league hitters.
REPORTER: When you woke up Thursday, did you think the regular season would pass without you being on a team?
REDMAN: No. We wouldn't have let it gone that long. There's no upside to that. I want to be able to pitch. I belong on a major league team. It was a matter of wanting a guaranteed major league job signing from my house and not a minor league job. The freakest of accidents – I mean last year I was getting up from stretching and hurt my knee. So I had to go get it cleaned up. I missed the rest of spring training and the first three weeks of the season. Say a line drive shatters you shin bone and you're out. That's why we held out for a while. Now it was about getting in the right situation and get ready to prepare yourself for the season to help your club out. Kenny Rogers signed on March 17th a few years ago and the previous year he was 15-8 with a high three ERA.
REPORTER: So did you talk to your agent everyday?
REDMAN: Yeah I was. I'm so sick of ESPN and MLB.com and and Fox Sports Net.com and SI.com. No offense. You guys do great work. I tell you my eyes were hurting from looking at the computer so many times. You don't want to sit there and hope someone gets hurt. It's almost like in NASCAR, ‘I hope someone crashes.' It wasn't like that. It was a tough position to be in.
REPORTER: So how did you hear about Hampton?
REDMAN: On ESPN and MLB and all the websites. I mean I turn on my computer and MLB pops up. I should have probably had it on Ebay or something.
REPORTER: What numbers have you worn?
REDMAN: I've worn 18, 55, and 21. If I keep getting outs, I'll keep it (19).
REPORTER: So what approach are you taking as far as a rotation spot?
REDMAN: I'm just coming in here and give it my best and try to make the team. I want to pitch here. I need to earn my spot. I think if you take that approach you're going to appreciate it more. With Mike, with his injury, with all that he has to endure with coming back from Tommy John, I could only imagine the letdown with the tremendous amount of work. I feel for guys that have to go through that. I'm sure his appreciation for the game is different too.
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