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.

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About Matthew S.

Avid Yankee fan since birth. I have been going to Yankee games with my father since i was young. I have many memories at YSII including many playoffs and world series games. I hope that you enjoy our blog. Comment often.

Posted on March 5, 2012, in Interviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Aardsma sounds like he could be a very good pick-up by Cashman for next year. Anything they get out of him (or even Jobe in my mind) will be gravy this yr. While pitchers can come back from TJS in 12 months they don’t usually regain full velocity and feeling for 18 months.

    Aardsma and Joba will be needed in 2013 when/if Mo retires. Aardsma will provide a little different look with his split-finger which is a devastating pitch vs LH hitters. The fact that he has great numbers vs LH batters makes him very valuable since the Yanks are stacked with RH relievers.

    • This was a really good signing by cash with the club option.

      Also little random fact his is the first player named in the baseball almanac. It used to be Hank Aaron.

    • I don’t see Aardsma as the closer in 2013, maybe a 7th or 8th inning guy. Soriano is the best choice, he is a proven closer in the East.

      • I’m not sure that Soriano might not exercise his opt-out after the 2012 season. I know he’s scheduled to earn a lot in the last year of that contract ($15MM). But he may be able to score a multi-year deal after the 2012 season with another team. I don’t think he will get another sweetheart deal from the Yankees like he got before. That’s just my opinion.

        • urf, I agree, the Yanks have a big decision to make, I think Soriano will stay if he is the closer in 2013, if not he might opt out. I don’t see him getting 15 million. I don’t see the Yanks resigning him. If Robertson has another good year, he could be the closer.

          • I too would prefer Soriano get the closers job in 2013 if Rivera retires. But probably not for the same reason as you.

            I think the pressure on the person that “replaces” Rivera in that role will be ungodly. I’d much prefer for Robertson, assuming he has the good 2012 to take over the job in 2014 not 2013. Gonna be a lot less pressure then.

      • I don’t think Aardsma will be the closer in 2013 either. It all depends on how everyone pitches this yr but no doubt about it – it’s Robertson’s job for the future if he has another strong year.

        Unfortunately, there is very little chance of Soriano opting out after this season. His Yankee contract calls for him to earn $14 Million in his age 33 season. No way someone would offer him near that. Yanks just have to hope he pitches very well the next 2 seasons and that Robertson’s great pitching at a reasonable salary offsets that Soriano is grossly overpayed.

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