Yankees Fans Unite Exclusive Interview with David Aardsma
Fishjam and I had the privilege of interviewing newly acquired Yankee David Aardsma. Aardsma went to Rice University where he set the school record in single-season and career saves in 2002-2003. He was also on the team that won the College World Series in 2003 where he notched two wins and a save.
Aardsma was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round (22nd overall) in 2003. He made the team with them in 2004 skipping Double-A and Triple-A. He then bounced from several teams in trades landing with the Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox and then finally the Mariners. In 2009, he earned the closer role and had 2 great seasons with Seattle. He saved 69 games with a 2.90 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 9.6 k/9 rate over the 2009 and 2010 seasons before suffering an injury that led to Tommy John surgery. Aardsma was not offered arbitration by the Mariners and became a free agent. On February 22nd he singed a one year deal with the Yankees with a club option for 2013. Below is our interview with him. Our questions are in BLUE. Enjoy.
You struggled a bit in your early career, playing with 4 different teams from 2004-08. What finally clicked that led to your 2 great seasons in Seattle?
Things started clicking with the red sox in 08. I started to throw more strikes and attack hitters better, but with a mid-season groin pull it killed my second half attempting to pitch through it. In 09 I really worked with John Wettland and slowed myself down and focused on what I wanted to accomplish with every pitch. Learning how to slow myself down turned into much greater control of my self.
All Yankee fans know you are coming back from Tommy John Surgery, but you also had labral surgery on your hip last January – how is your hip now?
Hip has been good, really did a great job of strengthening it and since it hasn’t been an issue.
You had Tommy John surgery in July 2011 – where are you in your rehab? Have you begun throwing?
I’m throwing at 90 ft right now for about 5 min. I’ll increase length/duration every week or so.
Were you disappointed that Seattle didn’t offer a Major league contract after saving 69 games in 2009 & 2010?
I expected to get released (too much money if I had arbitration). I mean, in the back of my mind I would have liked them to be a little more aggressive with wanting me back but believe me, I’m excited and happy about being a Yankee. This is a special place to be.
You’ve always been a hard thrower in the 93-96 range. Explain what type of pitcher you are and what other pitches you throw.
I come right after you, make you hit the ball. I have had my fair share of walks but I don’t give them up easy. I also throw a split and slider.
You’ve enjoyed success vs. Left handed Hitters & Right Handers. Is your split-finger the pitch most effective vs. LH hitters?
I use it mainly as a strike out pitch or when I know they are sitting fastball.
When you injured your elbow, was it a gradual break-down or was there one specific pitch you threw where you just felt it pop?
After a game it was tight then got worst every game. It wasn’t one pitch like most guys.
Do you have any reservations or concerns with pitching in NY?
Not really. I’m more focused on getting healthy than anything after that. I also look forward to new challenges.
Do you expect to pitch in the Majors this year or are you realistically just trying to get yourself in 100% condition for 2013?
I’m focused on mid July as a return date. Every doc and trainer has told me plan on 12 months. I’m planning on being ready in July.