By the third week of spring training, I really started to get dialed in, but during that whole time the other two left handed pitchers I was competing with at camp were solid the whole camp. I didn’t struggle but I wasn’t great, wasn’t sharp the first couple of weeks. I was kind of behind the eight ball, settled in the last couple of weeks. I threw really, really well to finish, but by that time I was already behind the other two guys I was competing with and they both made the club and I’m in Pawtucket.
I think with experience I developed that mentality. I got sent out of camp I don’t know how many times now. This is my thirteenth professional season. I’ve made three teams. So that means minus the first two years when I never had a chance of making the club, I’ve been sent down seven times or eight times out of camp. So it’s nothing new. It’s part of the process. I guess at thirty-one years old I’m still trying to figure out how to pitch better in spring training. It’s just not easy. It’s part of getting older. Getting my arm good to go for spring training becomes a little bit harder every year, it seems like. I’ve got to figure out a way to get sharper going into spring training, but I’m good now. I know that there’s another out in my contract coming up in a couple months so I just have to keep doing my job down here, pitch well, and things will bounce back the way they’re supposed to. I’m still confident as long as I stay healthy that I’m going to pitch in the big leagues this year; hopefully for the Red Sox, but if not for the Red Sox, for somebody. I’ve just got to do my thing.
On the 3rd of this month, the day before camp broke, I had an out in my contract that said basically the club had to put me onto their forty man roster by that day or I could walk away, which as a professional player, you can’t walk away from your contracts unless these are set in stone in your contract; at least, you can’t walk away without being suspended. If a minor league player from the Red Sox wants his release, he has to ask for it. If you don’t get it and you decide to walk away anyway, you can’t go play for another club. So basically the out allows me on that specific date, if they don’t do what I want, I can walk away and it’s basically like getting a free release and that was written into my contract that on that date I was allowed to do that. I wrote two of those into my contract so I have another one coming up in two months. The reason I didn’t do it this last one was there were no big league jobs for me. Nobody was really ready to add a new pitcher at that time.
I really like the Red Sox organization. I think they do a great job so I wasn’t going to go play in the minor leagues for somebody else. So I’ll hang out here for a couple months. Well hopefully not. Hopefully I’m not here for a couple months. Hopefully I throw well for the first couple weeks of the season and something happens where I’m back in the big leagues. But if not, I have two months here to prove myself. If they don’t want to put me in the big leagues then, then I have another opportunity to leave.
Nobody was reaching out to my agent. There were no teams reaching out. We’re not going to go around begging for phone calls. I don’t think that’s allowed to go around asking teams, ‘Hey, Dana’s available. Do you want him?’ Nobody’s reaching out to us looking for me specifically. There were other pitchers that were available at the end of spring training and there were guys who ended up not having a job at all. There was a hand full of veteran guys released this year towards the end of spring training. It’s become a younger game. It’s becoming harder for guys in my position to hold the stage. I was happy that I didn’t get released because we had a couple of veteran pitchers in major league camp with us who didn’t make the club and by not making the big league club, they also were just let go. So I’m not upset about being in Triple A right now.
On Wednesday, we’ll get on the bus; we open up Thursday in Lehigh Valley. We got about a four and a half hour bus ride. I get to get a very average hotel and have a roommate. That’s part of Triple A. The big leagues are a lot nicer obviously.
We’ve got a good team down here. There’s a ton of talent, which is awesome. We’re going to win a lot of games, but at the same time we’ve got a lot of guys down here that are in the same boat as me, trying to get back to the big leagues, trying to get to the big leagues. The Red Sox have done just an incredible job with stacking their minor league system so there’s probably twelve pitchers active on our team and we probably have twelve guys that are ready to be in the big leagues, go back to the big leagues or are right there really, really close to being ready to go to the big leagues. So I’ve just got to take care of my part. I think our team is going to do really, really well. We’ve got a lot of bats and we’ll see what happens. I don’t plan on being here all year. I’m hoping to have a ring show up in the mail this off season or something.