It's finally here. After the jump, you will be able to read the Casey Janssen Interview, posted exclusively on Bluebird Banter! So what are you waiting for?! Read it!
Some people felt like your fastball had some extra bite and velocity last season out of the bullpen. Did you feel last season like you could reach back and let loose more knowing you were only going to pitch an inning or two?
That's exactly it. The fact that I was only going to pitch an inning or two and then be able to rest for the next day or so was comforting to me. As a starter, you have to pace yourself so you're able to last longer in the games, but as a reliever you know you'll only be pitching one or two innings so you can put a little extra velocity on your pitches, knowing you'll have a day or more to recover.
Who is a pitcher you pitched with in the minors who you think will have a successful big league career?
During '06, I had a chance to briefly play with Ricky Romero in the minors. Although he didn't pitch well in AA last season, I still believe he can rebound and have a great career in the big leagues. He has a great fastball with movement, a nice changeup, and two breaking balls.
How much time do you spend studying game footage? How much time do you spend studying yourself pitch to detect and correct flaws as opposed to watching footage of hitters?
Before each game I like to watch a bit of footage on each hitter that I could possibly face during that game. I don't have a real set amount of time for how much tape I watch on the hitters. I just stop watching the footage when I think I have a good understanding on the hitter's tendencies and so on. If I have a rough outing in my last appearance, I definitely watch some tape on myself. I look for mechanic problems, release point problems, spin problems, fingering problems, anything that I could have done wrong, I check.
We hear a lot about the friendship that players who come up together develop in the minors: Aaron Hill and Russ Adams for one example, or Vernon Wells and Michael Young. Is there one particular guy that you really got tight with after arriving in the Jays system?
Curtis Thigpen. He was drafted a year after I arrived in the Jays system. Since he was going to be my catcher for a few years in the minors, I went over to where he was staying and introduced myself. We started talking about baseball at first, but then the subject gradually changed and we found out we shared a few common interests. We've been friends ever since then.
Are there any other sports you excel at?
I wouldn't say I excelled at it, but I loved to play football as a kid. I was actually the running back on my high school team, but I was never good enough to play it at UCLA. I still love to play pickup games with my old friends from back home during the offseason. I also love to watch it on TV, especially college football, cheering on the Bruins.
Did you ever try pitching left-handed as a kid?
(Laughs) Oh yeah! Unfortunately, both of my parents are right handed so it didn't work out very well. I would always like to do it playing pickup games, just to see if I could put the ball anywhere near the strikezone. A couple of times I did, but the ball was pitched so slow it got smoked every time.
Did you watch the Clemens/McNamee Congressional hearing, and if so, what are your thoughts on the subject?
I watched a bit of it, but I missed most of it because I was on the field at the time. I am a big Roger Clemens fan, I've loved to watch him pitch ever since I was a young kid, but it doesn't look good for him, especially if those pictures of him at Jose Canseco's party are released.
Stolen bases have been something of an Achilles heal for the Jays in recent history. Do any of the other pitchers on the team turn to you for advice on that brilliant pickoff move you have?
I wouldn't call my pickoff brilliant. I think it's an average major league pickoff move, nothing special about it. But I have actually been working with Dustin (McGowan) on his pickoff move, and I must say, it has gotten better. At practice it has looked phenomenal, but we'll have to wait to see what it's like when the season starts.
If you could add a pitch to your repertoire, what would it be? Any chance of adding another pitch in the next season or two?
Hmm, I have always liked Knuckle Curves, especially Mike Mussina's, so I suppose I'd like to add a Knuckle Curve to my repertoire. The movement on the Knuckle Curve is amazing, and as long as you keep the ball down in the strikezone, it's hard to hit. Another person who has a Knuckle Curve I like is Ian Kennedy. I think his will be as good as Mussina's in the future.
What do you like to do in the offseason?
In the offseason I like to just hang around home, visit my family and friends back Orange, California, play football with my buds, watch football with my buds, and workout at the gym to prepare for next season.
I'd just like to thank Casey for agreeing to conduct this interview with me and I think I speak for everyone at Bluebird Banter when I say, "Thank you very much and GO JAYS!!!"