FanFest Notes and Thoughts: Zach Britton

During Orioles FanFest, southpaw Zach Britton spoke with the media for a couple of minutes.

Britton answered questions about his prepration for Spring Training, his up-and-down year. In addition, he spoke about the rotation, the additions to the roster and a few other things.

Here are some quotes and notes I was able to pick up from him.

Is he excited for Spring Training?

Yah, I think this (Fan Fest) kind of kicks of the season for us. So we’re all excited. We’ve been doing that mini-camp since Tuesday. I’ve been working hard and everything and it’s nice to get everyone back in the clubhouse – throwing together, working out together, so we’re all excited to make the trip.

Are you in a different space/position heading into Spring Training?

Yah, definitely. I mean, you have some of that again this year, obviously. We brought in a lot of starting pitchers, and we knew that was going to happen, and you’re going to have to fight for your job again.

It’s a little bit different this year for me; I have taken some steps – obviously, I have not started throwing bullpens, whereas, last year, I was ten deep at this point. I’m trying to pace myself, so I don’t at the end of the season, I don’t get burnt out like I did last year.

Improvements to be made, anything he’s looking to do for Spring Training?

I think a big thing that me and Matt have talked about – we actually just talked about it the other day at the field – was maybe throwing in like a slow breaking pitch.

That’s something that I necessarily didn’t have – all my pitches were all around the same speed last year. Not a huge difference, so maybe have a different look – maybe throwing a slow breaking ball.

That’s maybe something me and Matt together in spring are going to probably work on with Rick (Adair), and then, obviously, improving my fastball command. That’s something I’ve already started right now, just that way you throw – you can improve your fastball command, making you sure focusing on what you’re while playing catch.

Does Britton think he’s one of the ‘chosen five for the starting rotation?

I think you have to think that way; I mean you don’t, you’re going to get lost in the fray, especially with the guys we brought in. So, if you have to go in there thinking you’re going to be one of those guys. We know we have to continue to do well.

At the same time, I know I’ve got stuff I got to work on.  That one thing I’m kind of kicking myself, because last year I didn’t work on anything I needed to work on – I just went up there trying to put up results.

This year, obviously, results matter – I think it’s beneficial to me and the team that I go into camp working on things I needed to work on.

Question on whether he expects a spot in the rotation based on his 2011 results?

You know, that’s something that I am not thinking about right now. I’m just focusing on pitching well. As long as I can pitch to the caliber I can – I’ll be fine.

About competition for starting rotation spots:

Yah, you know a lot of people haven’t deal with it before. Last year, I was competing against everybody and I knew most of those guys had their spots taken.

So, I went in like I don’t care if these guys are locked down already – I’m going to bump somebody out. I think I know what it takes to do that, so I am going to exactly what I did last year, but pacing myself better. I know what it’s like to compete for your spot, and think I have an edge on some people already.

Looking back on his rookie year:

Definitely, I found when you get home, you’re able … kind of, maybe two weeks in; you’re able to relax and think through the season. I watch some videos and stuff like that, at end of the year I was pissed – obviously – at about how my numbers were and stuff like that.

Then I looked at each one my starts, especially that bad stretch that I went through and then saw the improvements that I made after that.

That was the biggest thing for me was going through those struggles, and then able to have the confidence to overcome that and work with Rick (Adair) to make those adjustments. I am happy how that turned out, and think that’s going to me coming into spring next season.

About the additions to the pitching staff from Asia:

I think it’s great to have some diversity there. Koji was a guy that was awesome to have in the clubhouse, because their culture – they have a different way of pitching.

In able to talk to Koji – who had fantastic command, I think he went through a stretch where he didn’t walk anybody. It was an unbelievable amount of innings. I’m anxious to work with Chen too, I saw some of his video; haven’t seen Wada throw.

I’m anxious to kind of talk with Chen; I don’t know if I need Rosetta stone like Wiety (Matt Wieters) or something like that, but I am going to find a way to pick his brain about pitching.