It was exciting [making the Major League roster]. It's what you always dream for and it's something you always go after as a young kid and it's what you always work for day in and day out as a minor league player. They called me into the office and said that there were a lot of guys that deserve to make the team and you're one of them and congratulations and you're now part of the Kansas City Royals family.
I called my parents and then my fiancé and told them the good news and they were ecstatic and word got around pretty quick. I had to pitch that day so I had to go down on the field and when I came back I had 65 text messages from people back home.
Of course [there were nerves on Opening Day]. Actually warming up in the bullpen it wasn't all that bad. As soon as you take that first step onto the field and, you know, running onto the field I did the first thing they told you not to do. I looked up and there were 38,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs. That's when my heart dropped and I really realized I made it. I'm here and I've just got to go out there and perform and stay here.
It sinks in every time. When I came in against Detroit the first guy I faced was Miguel Cabrera. He's absolutely huge in the box. You know the name but when you're zoned in you're focused on the mitt and you do everything you can to get the guys out. When I came in at Texas I faced Kinsler and Beltre and just an unbelieveable lineup. I'm pitching against the best of the best of baseball. It's a good thing but you also know that you can't make mistakes. You just have to go out there and pitch.
All the perks are great. The hotels, the charter flights, the food you get the video you get to watch before the games. How they scout guys - really the preparation that goes into baseball. The preparation all these guys do is phenomenal. That's the biggest thing for me is how prepared it is up here - watching video, the scouting reports, how detailed it is. For me that's the biggest thing. You don't know what to expect coming up here. All the video, how they break things down. All the stats and what they do with certain pitches. It's really unbelievable.
[Royals pitchers] Bruce Chen told me one time that before he'd been a long relief guy. Sometimes there's going to be times where you don't throw for a week, week and a half. That just means the starters are doing really well and that's good because it usually means we're winning. You just gotta stay consistent with your work. I'll throw off the mound two days in a row, take a day off and then two days in a row, just to get a feel for the mound and your pitches. I've been working with our pitching coach Bob McClure just to keep me fresh and keep me sharp.
The biggest thing I've learned is trust your stuff. You have to give the hitters a lot of credit. I'm playing with the 700 best baseball players in the world. Don't change what you do. Do what you did to get here. I really haven't changed what I've done since I came from Bradenton. I'm basically doing the same thing, just attacking and keeping the ball down and when I do leave it up I get hit.
[On his new Mohawk, earning him the nickname Red Hawk] If one rookie got it we all had to get them and we still rock them to this day. We got a great group of guys and we're doing really well, better than we thought people would think of us. It's just something we do. It's a bullpen thing.