Eric Lauer: The New Kid on the Mound

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Eric Lauer talks about being a Padre.

ERIC LAUER: I think I've grown a lot. I think I've done the right things to get me to be in a better position than I was when I first came up. Definitely had a lot of help from Tyson and Clayton, and all the older guys steering me in the right direction. So I think so far everything's moved in the right direction, and I can't complain.

- Yeah, you had a little toe in the water for spring training, but as you see, it's a whole different-- it's a whole different game isn't it?

ERIC LAUER: Yeah, it's way different when you get here. It's a bigger adjustment than you think it might be, so you got to grow up a little bit. And this game is going to punch you in the face, and you just got to keep rolling with it.

- You get punched in the mouth a little bit. Does it shake your confidence at all?

ERIC LAUER: Yeah, at first it did. At first, you don't-- you might not feel like you belong, or you don't feel like you earned the right to be here. So you just-- you want to perform and show them like hey, I deserved to be here. I'm here, I can do what I need to do to stay here.

- First a couple of months, a little challenging. Then all of a sudden, it's almost like you're a little different pitcher out there. Are you?

ERIC LAUER: My big problem with the first couple of months was I was pitching, almost scared. Like I was timid. And I was pitching, thinking that I was facing major league hitters when I'm not a major league pitcher. But to think that those guys are just far beyond better than me was a hurdle I had to get over. And when I was finally able to get over there and start attacking guys more than pitching timid and scared, saw a little velocity jump, just my stuff got better. Attacking the zone gets hitters on their heels a little more. So that's pretty much been what's helped, it's been more of a mental adjustment.

- Did you know you had 94 95 in there, or was that even a revelation to you?

ERIC LAUER: I mean, I've hit them before. I don't think I've hit them quite as consistently. I mean, there's not-- I've never had adrenaline like I've had in big league games, so I think that plays little into it. But I think I have it in the tank, and I've always been pretty decent at throttling it, pitching at 90 to 92. And then if I need to bump up for a couple miles an hour to blow one by a guy, I'll try it.

- The control is locked in for Eric Lauer.

- How do you strike that balance between where the game is now and the red line effect, and being who you are?

ERIC LAUER: Well I was always raised to be a pitcher, not just a thrower. So command and control has always been a big part of my game. And being able to command, not just my fastball, but also my off speed pitches has been-- it's who I am. If I were to ever try to throw as hard as I possibly can every pitch, I would have no idea where it's going.

- You figured something out. You've been able to strike that balance. Obviously in a building situation the Padres are in, they're hoping to accelerate that as quickly as possible. So it takes like a Clayton Richard or Tyson Ross or Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers to, kind of, help you guys assimilate quicker. Didn't you work out with Clayton in the off season for a bit?

ERIC LAUER: Yeah. Me and Joey went to Claytons house in the off-season for a week.

- How'd that go?

ERIC LAUER: It was brutal. He was a football player in college, and he still works out like a football player.

- Really?

ERIC LAUER: Yeah. He put us through some tough workouts, but it just shows you what he's done to be in the game so long.

- It paid off against the Dodgers. I mean, the most recent out with 8 and 2/3. I know you wanted that last out.

ERIC LAUER: I wanted it so bad.

- I can only imagine. But this was, kind of, the early pinnacle, I think, of who you are and what you've been able to achieve. Would you agree?

ERIC LAUER: Yeah. I think that was definitely the most comfortable I felt on the mound, and I think the best I've thrown overall. And I think it reminded me of how I used to feel when I was pitching in like the minors, or in college baseball. It's how I felt. I felt like I was on the mound. I was throwing my stuff. I felt dominant again.

- Tell me what it's like for you now once you step away from the field itself, and it occurs to you, hey, you know what, I'm a big league pitcher, my lifelong dream.

ERIC LAUER: It's really cool to be able to just like look out at the stadiums that we play in and know that those are the best stadiums in the world. You can't play in a nicer field, or with more fans around. So it's a cool experience, and sometimes you got to like take a step back from every day and just like look at how blessed you are.

- How's your family supporting you through all this?

ERIC LAUER: Great. They've always been supportive. They've always-- my dad's been my biggest fan since I was three years old. So I've been lucky that they've always-- they've always been there for me, and they've always been willing to do whatever it takes to get me at this point. When I go home and golf with my dad, and we go and he always pays for me. Because he just walks up and he's like, I've got two. And then one day I was behind him, and he was like, you make way more money than me. Why am I still paying?

- Did you say, good point?

ERIC LAUER: I was like, because you walked up to the counter. I don't know.

- That's a big league move from the family. Thanks a bunch for the time.

ERIC LAUER: Thank you.

- I appreciate it.