Interview With Jeremy Jeffress

Jared Wickerham

I talked with new Blue Jay Jeremy Jeffress last Friday. Unfortunately, for some reason, I had a very loud humming noise on my recording of the talk, making some it impossible to hear some of it well enough to transcribe. So some parts are missing and some wording might be changed.

Jeremy seems like a nice guy, soft spoken, just interested in getting a good shot at showing what he can do in the majors. I'm really interested in seeing what he can do with the Jays.

Welcome to the Blue Jays.

Thanks, I'm very blessed to be here.

You are happy for the trade to the Jays?

Yes I am, I know a couple of people that from last year that got traded there. I haven't been there, I was supposed to be called up to play in Toronto last year but it didn't happen. But yeah I'm excited.

There was something about not having a passport?

Yeah, I left my papers out in Arizona where I am now. I didn't get a chance to get them.

That's the problem with having to cross a border.

And it is right there too, 2 hours from Pittsburgh. You wouldn't think you needed a passport.

Until recently you didn't need it.

Why didn't you re-sign with the Royals?

It's not that I didn't like the Royals, the Royals team, everybody in the clubhouse, all those people were great. I just felt like the team had a lot of guys in the pen. The last year, I just sat back and watched the same guys and I felt like that was the Royals. Those guys that I'm seeing pitch now are the Royals. I didn't see a future there.

The Royals wanted to send me to Omaha with a major league spring training invite. I had to make a decision, you know, a decision. It's not about the money, it's the opportunity I see myself having, this year, and in the long term.

I seen the guys in the Blue Jays bullpen, they are good, I just think I have a better chance there. I know a couple of guys over there like I said. I'm excited to come over and play for their team.

Who do you know?

I know a couple of guys, Sean O'Sullivan, I think he was in Triple-A last year. Jesse Chavez, Carlos Villanueva, Brett Lawrie.

What do you do in the off-season?

In a couple of days, Tuesday the 13th, I will be heading to Margarita, Venezuela.

Have you pitched in Venezuela before?

No.

I've heard good and bad stories.

I have too. I'm going to try to stay on the safe side over there.

What pitches do you throw?

This year, I've added a pitch and taken away a pitch. I throw fastball, hard cutter, occasional silder, curve ball and change.

That's a fair number of pitches for a reliever.

Yeah, but the way I use them, I just show that can have all those pitches, then a certain day I need it I can throw that pitch. I used to be a starter. I took some pitches away, also, and added some pitches as well. It just works for them. The fastball and cutter those are my bread and butter and my curve ball is my strikeout pitch. I don't want you to put this on the internet. Give away my secrets, but, they'll know anyway.

It must be pretty cool to throw a ball 100 mph.

It is. It's even better when you know where it is going.

Control has been a bit of a problem.

I'm not saying that it's a good thing, I know it's not, I just need a lot of innings, I need to be throwing a lot. I can't just be sitting for awhile and come up and dominate. I'm hoping to have that chance to show that, but with the Royals I didn't throw that much. That's why I'm going to Venezuela, I get the chance to throw pretty much every day or every other day. They are calling me out early to get more work.

It is tough to throw every couple of weeks, we saw that some with the Jays last year.

It's tough. But it is the nature of the business, you know. You don't look at it that deep in it unless you know what's going on.

You have been through a drug treatment program. You still get tested?

I'm on the treatment program, I get tested randomly. I guess tested every other week. I don't keep track of it, it's random.

There is a lot of talk about it on the internet.

People gotta understand where it is coming from, people will talk about anything and don't know what they are talking about. I try not to listen to those people, I won't pay attention.

How do you feel about pitching in the AL East?

I know it will be challenging, facing Boston, New York. I've face those guys, I've seen those guys, I think it's going to be exciting and a good challenge.

What did you think about the trade from the Brewers to the Royals before the 2011 season?

I was surprised, I thought I'd be with Milwaukee for a while, at least until I was out of options.

But it all worked out, I can't wait to get to Toronto, first stop is Venezuela.

Would you like to be a starter again?

Depending on how the team wants to use me, I'm not going to go up to the GM or anybody and say I want to start. I just want them to look at me and say we can use him here or here. I'll be ready.

Throwing 100 mph, being a closer could be in your future.

Yeah, that's where a lot of people say I'll end up, right there, but I'm sure the bullpen is where I'll stay.

I talked to your agent this morning, he really likes you.

He's smart, I'm very pleased to have Josh, he's known me since 2005, my junior year in high school. He's just been helping me ever since. He's great. He's a very smart guy. He can talk your head off. He's a good guy.

We've been together so long, I signed with him in 2008 when I was a Brewer and we've been at it ever since.

He's helped you through hard times.

When I was suspended in 2009, he stuck with me. He talked to people. He understood the decisions that I've made. He's just behind me on everything.

When you are suspended for that long, what do you do.

I went home to Virginia for a while, to mom and dad. Mom and dad calmed me down. After that I went down to Florida and started working out with buddies I have in Florida. Then spring training and in 2010 I had a great year with the Brewers. I thought that that put me back where I needed to be with them.

You've not used since?

No, I have a great support system and there is no reason for me to throw away anything else. I've been to the bottom in my life. I've been shamed in the newspaper, I've been arrested. I know the bottom is not where I want to go. Decisions I make now are way more mature than I've ever been.

People are going to make mistakes, no matter if you are the president, they are going to make mistakes. I'm not saying that I'm doing this and I don't care what people think about. I do care what people think about me. But there are decisions I'm going to make that are going to be bad, I'm still living, so I'll probably make another bad decision. But the ones that really affect my career and my life they will be better thought out.

Are you on Twitter?

No, I'm not on Twitter. I'm in a relationship that won't let me. (there was something I couldn't make out here, but I think a little joke about his girl friend). But if I gain a little more trust, I'll get on Twitter. I might do it this year.

Good luck next season.

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