As we countdown to spring training 2010, let's put a spotlight today on pitcher Jason Marquis, the newest front line starter for the Nats.
I had talked to Ryan Speier during NatsFest, who like Marquis, came over from the Colorado Rockies. Speier said some of his breaking pitches didn't do what he expected they would do at 5,280 feet, so he had to adjust a little bit and become more of a power pitcher.
I had a chance to speak with Jason with other reporters at last month's NatsFest.
I asked Jason if he had a similar experience with his stuff while in Denver?
"Not really. I am not an excuse guy. I still got to go out there and get the job done. I still got to make pitches I still got to get guys out. I guess the only thing I really had to get adjusted to was the feel of the ball, just the slickness of the ball.
I don't let a ball park or a venue affect the way I go about my business. You know whether you are in Philly, or Boston with the short porch, a new ball park in New York at Citi Field or the stadium here at Nats Park, the ultimate goal is to get guys out and you just can't come up with excuses."
A reporter asked Jason what impresses him the most about what the Nats have done in the off season?
"You know they showed the aggressiveness and desire to try to put a winning team on the field. I know they are not done yet with putting pieces of the puzzle together. Its an exciting time. Hopefully, they can get it done sooner rather than later. I am glad to be a part of it. Hopefully, I can be one of those missing pieces that can get a winning team back to Washington."
A reporter asked: realistically what do these moves translate into wins and losses. Is it more of an incremental thing, like get to 60, 70 or .500?
"No, I don't see why we can't shoot for the stars. Why do you want to limit yourself to 81 wins? Why do I want to limit myself to 15 wins? If I am taking the ball 34 times, I should win 34 times. We step on the field 162 times, we should win 162 times. You shouldn't say 'let's win 81 games' than you putting a number (on it) and you are satisfied with 81 wins. I don't think you should ever be satisfied."
What worked so well last year for you to have that great 1st half of the year?
"I put in a lot of work off season and spring training last year with my pitching coach Bob Apodaca. We tweaked my delivery a little bit just to allow me to be more consistent in the bottom of the zone. It allowed me to make a lot more consistent pitches to get hitters out and I was able to carry that into the season."