AZSP: How've you been this off-season?
Joe: Oh, hd a great off-season - enjoyed my time, got away from baseball for a little bit, so that was pretty good.
AZSP: Did you have a workout program, or do anything different from the previous year?
Joe: I've kinda always done the same thing. I scheduled it for a little earlier in the morning, that helps me mentally, just because if I'm working out in the rain at 5 a.m, you feel tougher or you're working harder, I guess! So I was working out about 5:30 in the morning. It was good mentally, I think.
AZSP: You spent almost all of last year in Reno. How did you do? We kept waiting for you to come up!
Joe: I felt great. I felt like I had a pretty good year, considering how I started it with Arizona. I felt really good versus lefties, and it's always been a struggle finding my identity versus right-handed hitters - I'm feeling a lot better about it this year. I'm excited to get started. I came into spring with a better plan against those right-handed hitters, so I'm going with that and running with it.
AZSP: So you've been working specifically on your approach to right-handers?
Joe: Not really. Pretty much just my mindset. I've always been labeled as a "lefty specialist," and I'd actually never really been in that role until I came to Arizona, so you kinda lose what you're doing, for me at least. So it's just getting back to pitching a right-handed hitter like I would a left-handed hitter, just attacking them, instead of trying to trick everybody - throwing funky, and doing certain things. I need to pitch them like a left-handed hitter, where I just attack 'em.
AZSP: Have the coached worked with you on that, or suggested you change anything?
Joe: Yeah, people are working with me. I just kinda felt, watching what I did, I feel I've done better - like, last year, I ran into a lot of problems, going in and facing a lot of guys when we were up 9-0. The "tricking" and all that doesn't work as well when there's not a whole lot of pressure on the hitter. So it's just getting better at those situations, because I'm going to be called to do that kind of thing. Unfortunately, it was a hard lesson to learn, but I've definitely learned it. Watching myself last year, facing those guys, I was like "Man, you're really fooling around out there."
AZSP: You were watching tape a lot?
Joe: You don't get a whole lot there - I was more watching other guys on TV, how they pitch, guys who throw similar, and how they attack right-handed hitters. Basically, I'd watch anybody that's a left-handed reliever! Just get ideas, stuff like that, because I'm very comfortable facing left-handers, and it's just getting to that same spot versus a right-handed hitter. And I think I'm just about there.
AZSP: Well, we hope you're back with the team this year!