Q&A with Clint Everts

"I will be ready by spring training."

One of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball is now on his way back from Tommy John surgery. Clint Everts missed virtually all of 2005, but he has now set his sights on 2006, where he expects to pitch AA. We sat down with the righthander for a Q&A session.

CapitolDugout.com:  What are your off season plans to prepare for next season?  

Clint Everts: Well, I'm going to the Dominican pretty soon. And, I'll be there for like 7 weeks. We are having instructionals down there this year. They start October 2nd and go to November 20th. Since I had Tommy John surgery a year ago, I'll just be trying to get more innings in to strengthen my arm.

CapitolDugout.com: Do you expect to start the 2006 season healthy and ready pitch?

Clint Everts: Yes. I will be ready by spring training. Definitely.

CapitolDugout.com: Clint, have you been given any indication as to what level you may start off at in 2006?

Clint Everts: I know that if I come into spring training next year and do well, then I should be starting off in AA. That's what I'm hoping for.

CapitolDugout.com: Could you take us through your repertoire of pitches, including approximate fastball velocity?

Clint Everts:  Hopefully, if I can come back healthy from this surgery, I should be back to where I was in high school. My fast ball should be back in the low 90's. If I can get that strength back, then the curveball and changeup should be back into the low 80's.

CapitolDugout.com: What style pitcher would you say you are as far as mentality?

Clint Everts: Back when I was in high school I would just throw it by everyone, but now in pro ball I have learned that you have to hit your spots. So now I would say, in my mind, that the most important thing for me is hitting spots. But if I get two strikes, then I will try to strike them out.

CapitolDugout.com: Being a very highly regarded prospect, is it something that drives you or something that puts more pressure on you?

Clint Everts: Well, this year coming up, I have put some pressure on myself to put up the numbers I did in 2004. Because I know that I had Tommy John and, in my mind, I'm thinking the organization has put a tab or something like that on me because I have had the surgery.  

CapitolDugout.com: Your former high school teammate, Scott Kazmir, has experience some big league success. Is that a good motivation for you?

Clint Everts: Well, I just know if I work hard enough, I can have the same success that he is having right now. 

CapitolDugout.com: The move to AA is often known as a very difficult jump for pitchers. Do you feel that you may take some time to adjust to that in 2006?

Clint Everts: Well, when I was going from low A to high A, I thought it was going to be a big adjustment but it really wasn't as big as I expected. Since I haven't thrown in AA, I am expecting it to be tough for at least a few starts.

CapitolDugout.com: What do you think is the most important thing that you have learned so far in professional baseball?

Clint Everts: I learned that it doesn't matter how hard you throw in professional baseball. If you are up in the zone, you will get hit. So, basically the key is keeping the ball down and keeping the walks down.

CapitolDugout.com: When you were drafted by the Nationals (then the expos), what were your initial thoughts?

Clint Everts: When I was drafted they were talking about some kind of contraction of the Expos. But, I really didn't care about it. I was really just excited to play pro ball.

CapitolDugout.com: When you first got hurt, what were your first thoughts? When was the injury discovered?

Clint Everts: When I first started feeling my elbow hurting, it was about two weeks before the futures game a couple seasons ago. I really didn't think much of it. I just got used to the soreness, but at the end of the season when I found out about it I was pretty upset. But, after going through the whole rehab process and getting some innings in the New York Penn league this past season, I feel confident that I will be able to get back to what I was before.

CapitolDugout.com: At this point, are you dealing with any pain in the elbow?

Clint Everts: Right now, some days are good and some days are not so good. But, overall there are no problems. All I have to do is strengthen it and I should be fine.

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