LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jason Stella, of batsbaseball.com, sat down and spoke with Louisville Bats relief pitcher Jared Burton last week.
Your performance over the past month has improved from the first portion of the season. In July, you had your best month, posting a 1.35 ERA with 3 saves. What do you think has been the key in your improved play as the season has progressed?
It's just getting my arm in midseason form again. I missed the first month with some health problems, and I had to go back to Arizona extended spring and start my spring all over again. After I got a few innings under my belt and got in a little rhythm of throwing a little more, I think it's just gotten better and better, and my confidence has gotten better and better, too.
You spent over a month on the disabled list to start the 2010 season. Describe the challenges in your recovery, and how you have been able to work back to being successful again.
It's probably been one of the most mentally tough years I have ever had. Because of having to go to doctors over and over, and we finally figured out I had a thyroid problem, and we got some medication for that. It was finally good to see that I can pitch naturally like I always have and I don't have to worry about anything holding me back anymore. My arm strength has gotten better and my body strength has been maintained, and I've just managed to get better each time out.
After spending most of the last three years with the Reds, you have spent the duration of this season with Louisville. Describe your mindset and approach as you have spent this season at the triple-A level. Has it been any different than your preparation when you were playing in the majors?
As far as preparation, no. You always want to be on top of your game, and you always want to come to the park to perform the best you can, and being ready to pitch on any given night. It's been a little frustrating not being able to be up there. I've been with them the last three years and saw the team kind of underachieve, and not play as well as we knew we could. Finally this year, everything is coming together, and they're playing great, and of course I haven't gotten to be a part of that. That's out of my hands, I'm just having fun playing the game and trying to do the best I can.
You have been a relief pitcher as opposed to a starter during your entire professional career. What do you think are the pros and cons of coming out of the bullpen?
I love it. I think it's cool to have an impact in every game. As far as being a starter, it can be nice if you're throwing well, because you got four days to sit back and relish that good outing. The good thing about the bullpen is if you have a bad outing, you can get right back out there and clean the slate and get your confidence back where it needs to be. I was a starter in college and when I first got drafted, but after my shoulder surgery I went strictly bullpen, and I've adjusted to it and like it a lot better now.
What aspects of your game do you think are your strong suit, and what do you think you need to improve on as you attempt to get back to the big leagues?
My aggressiveness is probably my strong suit. I have a lot of late movement on mostly all my pitches. With my fastball, I really like to go right at guys. As far as improvement, you can always improve on overall command of all your pitches, but other than that, I'm pretty confident in everything I have going right now.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.