If you talk to a lot of players, they'll say sometimes it only takes one thing to get you going in this game. You make the adjustment and then, boom, there it is. That happened to me this year.
Everyone always has told me I have a lot of stuff. I had the velo, but I just didn't have the consistency. This past year, I worked on my leg kick and timing to get the ball down, and I had some good results. But I didn't have it this spring. My command was spotty from outing to outing.
:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::
I kind of readjusted toward the end of camp, but it still wasn't fully there. Then we had a simulated game in Charlotte, N.C., right before we came to Chicago to start the season. For some reason, I decided to keep my head more in line during my delivery. I also focused more on the catcher's glove than the catcher himself.
Normally, I would try to feel where to throw the ball, and my head would start tilting. Coaches said it was one of the reasons why my fastball was so inconsistent. To be honest, I really didn't understand what that all meant.
That day in Charlotte, it really clicked. When I started to hit my spots, I thought, "Where did that come from? Now, I understand what they were saying."
Now if I fall off a little bit, I know that it doesn't feel right. I've been able to adjust a lot more quickly. It feels good to be able to consistently throw strikes and get ahead of the hitters. This game, though, is not easy. I don't want to get too overconfident, but I hope it keeps going this way.
I grew up near Albany, N.Y. After my junior year, my Dad and I went to Florida to attend some summer showcase camps for college coaches. I was starting to throw harder, and I was getting some looks from colleges. Back then, the long-term goal was to get drafted, but I was realistic -- I just wanted to play somewhere.
Florida Atlantic was interested, but there was a miscommunication with one of the deadlines, and I wasn't able to enroll. Eventually, I didn't have many options. I remembered Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., liked me and sent an email. One of the coaches got back to me within an hour and said, "Yeah, we'd love to have you." It worked out well, as the Yankees drafted me in the fifth round in 2010.
How many players from Lynn have made it to the big leagues? You're looking at him.
Away from baseball, I'm a huge Philadelphia Eagles and Notre Dame fan. When I was a kid, I liked the Eagles' color green and the bird logo on the helmet. Sometimes, that's all it takes. I'm looking forward to having former Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery on the team this year. I'll have his jersey soon.
It's been fun being in Chicago, because Notre Dame and the Big Ten are so big here. Derek Holland and Zach Putnam are Michigan guys. I'm sure there will be some trash talk between us when the football season starts.
I'm also into pro wrestling. I went to a lot of shows when I was a kid--and comic books. When people ask what character I would be if I was in a comic book, I say Captain America. I like what he represents.
But in real life, I would settle for being a successful Major League pitcher. I know I still have a lot of work to do.
As told to Ed Sherman.