Recently, I had a chance to talk with Nationals starting pitcher Garrett Mock about his pitching and how Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez has been integral to his progression in spring training.
Mock says Rodriguez is helping each pitcher work on finer points of pitching in spring training, specifically in hitting a spot “to see if they can or show them that they can”.
“During the season I believe Pudge came here to win at all costs,” Mock said, but that may be sacrificed during spring training as Pudge concentrates on helping the pitchers improve during each pitch of each at bat.
Mock said he’s trying to get a better command of some of his off speed pitches. Pudge and Steve McCatty work with him between innings and tell Mock why they called particular pitches.
The 26-year-old right-hander also said Pudge gives him the freedom to throw the pitch that he wants and helps him hold runners when they’re on base.
Mock says he’s happy with what he’s seen out of the Nats staff so far this spring.
“It seems every guy is going out with a specific purpose to execute better,” he said. “If it doesn’t happen that game, we are willing to try. After the game, we are going to make an adjustment (to improve for the next game).”
It may not be showing in the spring training team record, but “a lot of guys are buying into the overall idea of ‘lets get our work in’ and not worry about people talking about the losses just because we are the Nats.”
Mock also said he’s very happy he hasn’t given up a walk yet this spring.
“Ultimately I have to trust what I am doing on the mound. I have to trust in my ability to put the ball in play.”
Here is Part 1 and Part 2 of my interview with Garrett Mock:
Audio: Garrett Mock on his spring training progress and Pudge Rodriguez’s guidance Part 1
Audio: Garrett Mock on his spring training progress and Pudge Rodriguez’s guidance Part 2