GVB – Were you pleased with the way you pitched last season?
PI – I definitely felt like something clicked this year. I was struggling pretty bad my first few starts in Double A and when it clicked it just clicked. I don't know what it was exactly, but it was just one start after another, I think I put like eight or nine starts together that were all quality starts.
GVB – Do you think it was improved mechanics or was it a mental thing?
PI – I think mechanically I was solid, so I would have to say it was a mental thing. My confidence once it started going up, it just ended up going through the roof. I don't know what it was, but as it grew it just kept getting better and better and I went out there and I got better and better. I carried that straight into Indianapolis.
GVB – Did the slow start at Double A have anything to do with the forearm injury you had?
PI – Definitely, injuries can definitely stunt your confidence. It played a big part and once I kind of decided that I was healthy again and not protecting my arm. Once I decided that I was healthy and let it go, that's when things started to turn.
GVB – Were you a little bit surprised by recording 117 strikeouts, you aren't regarded as a power pitcher.
PI – I was more surprised about my strikeouts at Indianapolis. But once I stepped back and looked at it, then it made sense to me. Triple A hitters are much more patient, so if my command was good then I tended to get ahead of the hitters more. With my curve ball I have a pitch that I can put away guys.
GVB – Getting ahead is very important for you isn't it?
PI – I've always prided myself on my control, that's been my thing getting ahead of batters and not walking batters. I feel like I'm better off challenging them than nibbling. That first strike gives you a lot of options.
GVB – You mentioned how confident you are in your curve ball. What is your repertoire and how are the other pitches coming along?
PI – I throw a four seam, two seam, curve ball and a change up. The change up is coming along, I felt like it made a big jump for me in Triple A. My fastball command is good. My velocity is low 90's, I'm now at the point in my career where I don't think I'm ever going to throw 95, nor do I care. I've learned how to pitch at the low 90's with the stuff that I have and my fastball plays for me and my curve ball is definitely the equalizer that takes them off my fastball.
GVB – Do you have a list of things you wanted to work on this off season?
PI – Strength and stability in my shoulders, just for a little more security as far as injuries, but mechanically I wasn't given anything to work on. I hope that means the Pirates are happy with it.
GVB – Are you happy with the progress you've made through the system?
PI – I am, I've never really had a sticking point at any level. I feel like my minor league career especially since I wasn't a high draft pick has gone really smooth. I've had a couple of bumps in the road which have kept me humble and kept everything in perspective and kept me working hard. I think I've had a good minor league career and hopefully I can end that minor league career sometime next year and start a major league career.