In this Jekyll and Hyde season, consistent performers on the Twins roster have been rare. Ryan Pressly however, has thrived amidst the chaos. In 8 2/3 innings, the reliever has yet to give up a run, while posting six strikeouts against just three walks.
Originally acquired as Rule 5 Draft pick in December 2012, Pressly spent the entire 2013 campaign in the big leagues before shuffling between Minneapolis and Triple A Rochester the past two seasons. Back on the opening day roster for the first time in three years, the 27-year-old looks to make it stick in 2016.
With closer Glen Perkins on the Disabled List and bullpen roles in flux, Pressly’s role will likely become more significant in the coming weeks. The Texas native and I chatted during the White Sox series last week.
DZ: Personally, you’ve gotten off to a pretty good start; how’s it going with you?
PRESSLY: Just trying to stay in a groove with everything. Help in any way I can coming out of the bullpen. Trying to get people out coming in, that’s pretty much all I can do.
DZ: You made the opening day roster for the first time since 2013 when you were a Rule 5 guy, how was it different this time?
PRESSLY: Rule 5 wasn’t there to protect me. I had to come into camp ready to go and ready to hit the ground running and put up good numbers, especially after last year. I just wanted to come into camp healthy and show them I could still sling it a little bit…That was my ultimate goal.
DZ: You are up all of 2013 and then you have to split the next couple of years between the minors (and here). Was that kind of different after getting used to being here for an entire season?
PRESSLY: Not really, it’s still the same game. You are just playing in front of less or more amount of people. You just want to get people out. Obviously, you want to be up here, but getting sent down to Triple A the past 2 years, I feel like it helped me out. I kind of refined myself on certain things like dedication.
DZ: In the bullpen at the beginning of the season, from the outside looking in, it looks like the roles are kind of up for grabs…What is that process like?
PRESSLY: Whenever that phone rings and they tell me to get loose, there is really no – with Perk being out right now – I feel like everybody is going to be slotted back a spot now…I haven’t been told anything, so I am still going to go about my way on how I get ready and everything.
DZ: As a bullpen, does it take a while for you guys to jell and get that continuity and comfort level with each other?
PRESSLY: No. We know that going in, that we are going to be part of the bullpen, what guys are going to be part of the bullpen. We have fun down there, it’s a tight knit group. We spend a lot of time together, so we know what ticks and what doesn’t. We are happy with each other down there.
DZ: I read that you tore your ACL playing high school football. That had to have been a pretty traumatic experience, especially at that age. How did you overcome that?
PRESSLY: It wasn’t a fun deal, I can tell you that much. I tore every ligament in my knee. I’ve got two screws in there now. It gets a little sore when it’s cold outside. It’s another thing that you just have to overcome. You just have to rehab and get back and feel comfortable. I had to have to two surgeries down on it.
DZ: Was it tougher mentally than physically?
PRESSLY: Yeah, because you have that main ligament that keeps your knee stable. When you lose that, you’re cutting and planting kind of gets at you a little bit…As soon as you get over that you are fine.
DZ: During the season, how does your fitness (program change)?
PRESSLY: As a bullpen guy, it’s a little bit different than the position players. You never know when you are going to pitch as a bullpen guy. You just have to kind of play it by ear. You have to really listen to your body, see how that works out. Me and (Strength and Conditioning Coordinator) Perry (Castellano) have a pretty good relationship on what we want to do every day…You kind of bounce stuff off each other and feed off each other. You have to listen to your body.