Nationals reliever Ryan Speier comes over from the Colorado Rockies looking to make the opening day roster for 2010.
Speier is a local boy, who went to West Springfield and Radford University. He is excited to get started and attempt to crack the lineup.
“This is huge for me and my family,” Speier said. “When I was talking to my agent during free agency, there were three teams that were in the mix and we had no idea that I was even on the Nationals’ radar.”
“When the Winter Meetings came, they were actually the first team to approach my agent with an offer and the offer was great. I am psyched to be here and I am really excited about the opportunity.”
I had a chance to sit down with Speier during the Nats Caravan and go over his career with the Rockies, how he pitched at a mile above sea level and what changes he had to make to be successful.
“I did have to change quite a few things. I am a sinker/slider guy. My slider was my best pitch. When I got to altitude, the ball did not move the way it is supposed to,” Speier said. “I had to kind of become a power pitcher for a couple of years. I had to scratch my best pitch, which was my slider. I just tried to locate fastballs. It was a big adjustment for me. But that is what this game is all about, making adjustments. I can now come back to sea level and pitch the way I am more comfortable.”
Audio: Ryan Speier talks with Byron Kerr about joining the Nationals
I also talked to Ryan about how his hamstring is feeling for camp and his expectations for the Nats and the other changes they have made to bolster the roster this season.
“I am 100 percent now,” Ryan assured of his health after last season. “I had a little bit of an issue with my hamstring (last year), but I am fine now.”
Ryan sees himself as a late-inning, short relief kind of pitcher who can come in on short rest and pitch multiple games in a week to 10 days.