Q+A with Sam Dyson and John Farrell
How did you find out you were getting the call up?
“Kevin Howard hit a walk-off home run, and we were walking in the line after the game, and Sal [Fasano] told me to come to his office. I thought I was in trouble, but obviously I wasn’t.”
Was it surreal when you heard you were going to the big leagues?
“Yeah, I kind of asked him to repeat it. It was a good thing to hear from him”
John Farrell said you may have the best stuff in the organization … what does that mean to you?
“It means a great deal, especially coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2010. Just working hard to come back, hopefully I’ll be able to contribute up here.”
What expectations did you have after the Tommy John?
“Three months ago I was in Dunedin starting, so I thought I was going to be there most of the year. I thought I might eventually come up to New Hampshire in the second half of the season, but it happened after the first month. I was into a bullpen role, and it kind of blossomed from there.”
You thought starting was going to be the plan for you?
“That’s what I thought, yeah, because I would have more of a routine every five days, workout schedule, all that. Now it’s a little bit different.”
How was the adjustment to the bullpen?
“It has been pretty good. I haven’t been able to workout the same, as intense. But I mean, staying with the rehab kind of stuff, and all the maintenance programs, I did that pretty much everyday, so everything is fine.”
How did you respond to the order to move to bullpen?
“I think I responded pretty well. I mean, starting you can kind of, not cruise through a few innings, but you can kind of find it. In the ‘pen you can’t really find it — you either have it or you don’t. And if you don’t have it, you’re out of there in a few pitches. And if you have it, you’re out of there in a few pitches. One is better than the other.”
“Pound the fastball and hopefully they hit it on the ground somewhere. I’m not a big strikeout guy. I try to get people out early in the count.”
Why was the switch made?
“No idea. I think there was a need for it.”
“No, a need in New Hampshire. I think one of the guys was injured or something, I’m not too sure.”
Long term, would you like to start?
“It doesn’t matter to me, as long as I’m playing. I’ll play outfield, who knows.”
Where did you think you would go in draft if you hadn’t suffered the injury?
“My nerve flipped in 2007 or 2006, one or the other. Then I had bone spurs, minor shoulder surgery.
“Same spot, I guess. I was a 19th-rounder out of high school, then a 10th-rounder, then a fourth-rounder. Pretty much the same thing all three times.”
“A little but when I was in the locker-room today but I don’t think it really will until Chicago, or tonight. It just happened all so fast and trying to soak it all up.
”That’s just an ulnar nerve transposition where they take the nerve from your funny bone and flip it over. That’s all it is. It’s pretty minor
TJ Oct 2010
“I didn’t get back until instructs, I was set back in September right before instructs, so I didn’t participate in instructs until 2011, and I didn’t start throwing in games until spring training.
”Probably around 11 months, I had a setback and I didn’t feel the same, it took probably three or four months for it to get better. It obviously has.
”My parents actually flew up to Manchester on July 3, they were going to stay the week there and go to the all-star game in Reading the following week with me. They were there so I walked over to the hotel after the game and shared the news with them, my mom started jumping up and down.
“Pretty much all the staff, a lot of the coaches have had Tommy John surgery before, they know what to expect, they went through it and give you little advice here and there. The training staff has gone through hundreds of them, so they give you all the exercises to do and plenty of knowledge on it.”
“All reports by development staff is that he’s ready to help at the Major League Level. Power stuff, maybe the best overall stuff in our organization.”
That’s high praise…
“Going into the Draft, his Draft year from South Carolina, he profiled and had the potential as a No. 1 pick but some injuries forced his Draft status to drop a little bit, evident by what we drafted him under the conditions and the need for Tommy John surgery at the time. He’s obviously come back healthy and the stuff has returned.”
Pitching at all last year or just recovery?
“All rehab last year.”
At extended Spring?
“He was in the extended all of last year. He was in Dunedin basically the whole year rehabbing and then was in the starting rotation in Dunedin as I’m sure you’ve seen and then in a controlled relief setting in New Hampshire. Two innings, two days off and then moved him into the closer’s role where he has been every other day. Has not gone back-to-back and we would hold off on doing that as well here for the time being.
“But he has the ability and the potential that many people feel that can come in and do what we’re looking for and that’s that seventh inning, down a run. Depending on who is available on a given day, has the stuff to pitch here and pitch successfully.”
Plan all along for him to relieve? Starting in Dunedin to stretch him out?
“Had him in the starting role for the added recovery days and a controlled pitch count. In addition to being able to work inbetween starts on his secondary stuff and more importantly to get him into a normal routine. But the four days of recovery inbetween are the primary reason. Once he passed all of those physical tests then we always had a view of him as a power arm reliever and then the conversion to the bullpen when he went to New Hampshire took place.”
When did he first come onto your personal radar?
“His name started to come up about four weeks ago in conversation when he moved to Double-A. In that timeframe, he has pitched very well with New Hampshire.”
What does his repertoire consist of?
“He has four pitches. A fastball that’s going to be 93-98 with some heavy sink. Some breaking balls that have good depth to them and sharpness to them. His slider is that 85-90, curveball 82-85. These are all numbers that are above Major-League average but he has pitched primarily with a sinking fastball and has been very efficient.”
Described as a bullpen Henderson Alvarez. Is that fair?
“Probably a better breaking ball and might have more sink at times. But, yeah, I think as a visual, good starting point.”
Is he a guy you’d bring in for a double play situation?
“In talking with him, I think to get his feet on the ground he would be coming in for some clean innings first. I’m sure he’s going to be vibrating when he walks onto the mound for the first couple of times.”
Saw him as a reliever… is that a long-term vision as well?
“I think initially his durability will indicate that but at least now in shorter stints that can potentially be controlled to make sure he gets proper rest, that’s the approach right now.”