District On Deck Interview: Mitch Lively


Earlier last week, our co-editor, Pablo Roa, profiled Washington Nationals pitcher Mitch Lively as part of our non-roster invitee profile series. Last July, the 29-year old pitcher decided to opt out of his contract with the San Francisco Giants and join the Washington Nationals organization.

He spent the final two months with the Nats triple-A affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs. In his final two starts, he struck out 17 batters over 11 innings and gave up four runs. This included a start on August 30 when he struck out 11 Pawtucket batters in six innings of work.  In fact, Lively did not give up more than three runs in any of his eight appearances (three starts).

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This week, I had the privilege to get a chance to ask Lively some questions about his transition from the bullpen to the rotation as well as some of the goals he has for this season. We, at District On Deck, thank Lively for taking the time to talk with us and we wish him the best of luck this Spring down in Viera.

Ricky: This is your first Spring Training with the Washington Nationals. What has the experience been like so far with this team in the first couple of days of workouts? 

Mitch: It’s been a great experience so far. I love how involved the coaches are within each drill and how quickly the guys have clicked together. From day one, I felt like I have been with this team for years. 

R: Take us back to last July. What was your reaction when you signed with the Nationals? 

M: At first, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. It is like transferring in the middle of your senior year of high school. But once I got on my flight, I found myself really excited to be joining what I think is one of the best pitching staffs in all of the MLB.

R: Were there any adjustments you had to make going from the Pacific Coast League to the International League when you pitched for Syracuse? 

M: I wouldn’t necessarily say I had to make any adjustments, I still went after hitters the same way I always have. The only difference I noticed right away was the ball definitely carried different in the IL as opposed to the PCL. 

R: What are some of the things you can take away from how you finished last season? 

M: I was happy that I was given the opportunity to pitch as a starter and from the pen. I was able to show my versatility as a pitcher to not only my AAA coaching staff but to the Nationals as well. 

R: What are the goals you are looking to accomplish this spring?

M: My goals this spring are to stay healthy and take advantage of any opportunity I am given. 

R: What is the toughest part about turning from a reliever to a starting pitcher? 

M: The toughest part is building up my endurance to allow myself to go deeper in the game. I also had to learn how the approach the hitters differently. As a reliever,I did whatever I needed to do to get the out, but as a starter I had to set up hitters for later in the game.

R: Who was your favorite pitcher to watch growing up and why?

M: Greg Maddux, because of his control and the way he attacked hitters.

R: What would be the one thing that you would want to say to the Nationals fans out there? 

M: No matter what happens this spring, you will have some exciting baseball to watch in 2015. This ball club has set themselves up to become a power team that will be hard to beat.

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