It's time for another Qs, As session - this time with Lancaster pitcher Mike Modica. Let's read, shall we?
AC: You were drafted by the Astros in 2009, having been drafted twice before - by Ed Wade and the Phillies (2005 and 2008). How much familiarity was there with Ed Wade in the negotiations to sign last summer?
MM: Well having been in that situation two previous times, there was quite a bit familiarity. This time was different. The other two previous times I was drafted, I wasn’t sure I was going to sign at all. The third time I knew I would be signing no matter what. My intentions to finish college (George Mason) were always in the back of my mind, and that was what kept me from signing the first two times I was drafted.
AC: Having spent 2009 in Tri-City, you pitched in Lexington for a couple of weeks before getting sent out to Lancaster, where you finished out the season. What were the circumstances regarding your short stint in Lexington, and getting sent up to High-A?
MM: Well I only had 3 appearances in Lexington, so I’m not really sure what the circumstances for me getting sent up to Lancaster so quickly.
AC: This season, you pitched 35 more innings than in 2009. How did that extra work affect you, and what kind of adjustments did you have to make to accommodate a full season?
MM: The extra workload didn’t affect me at all. There were a few bumps and bruises along the way this year, but nothing to keep me from being available every night. I’m still learning how to pitch out of the bullpen.
AC: What will you be doing/working on this off-season?
MM: Maybe some traveling, and lots of football. I’ll be at the Army-Navy game in December I haven’t missed a game since I was seven years old. It’s a family tradition that we take part in every year. Right now I’m working as a pitching instructor at a local indoor baseball facility. It works out perfectly for me because they let me workout there for free once I start my throwing program. Also, next month I start substitute teaching at the high school I graduated from.
AC: From your tweets, we can take an educated guess and say that you're a Phillies fan. Is it difficult to grow up a fan of one team, and play for another?
MM: It certainly is difficult. I take great pride in being a part of the Astros organization, and if things were different and they were playing the Phillies in the NLCS right now my heart would certainly side with Houston. With that being said, for the past 23 years I’ve lived 8 miles from the ballpark in South Philly, and I’ve watched Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels become annual All-Stars and I can’t be more happy for the success they’ve had over the past few years.
AC: How do you think the Phillies will fare this post-season (and give us your thoughts on Oswalt)?
MM: Well as of right now the series with the Giants is all-square at 1-1, and I feel pretty good about it. Oswalt pitched a great game, oh, and he handled the bat pretty well too. He attacked hitters with his fastball all night long, and towards the end of the game he even squeaked in a couple of those 65 mph floating curveballs. I was excited to see Charlie Manuel leave him out there to get Aubrey Huff in the 8th - as a pitcher I live for moments like that. Hamels is up next, and with the way he’s been throwing lately and his previous postseason experience I like their chances tomorrow night (which would have been last night). Overall, I’d like to see the Phils get another chance at the Yankees in the World Series, and maybe start up another great rivalry.
Big thanks to Mike for taking the time to answer these. As with the others, we'll try to check back in with him later on in the off-season. Maybe we'll ask about substitute teaching.