Padres Prospect Interview: Mario Tabachnik

Mario Tabachnik

Eugene, OR: Mario Tabachnik feels like he has mastered the physical side of the game with the addition of his curveball. The San Diego Padres prospect is now working on the mental side.

Talk to me about your curveball and the progression it has made. That was one of the things you wanted to focus on last year.

Mario Tabachnik: Amazing. We have been working on my curveball everyday. Last year, it was good but there were times I would hang it. Now, we are working on it to make it more of a slider so it breaks down instead of looping a little bit. I feel very confident with it – that I can throw for a strike in any count. I can throw it for a strike or throw it in the dirt.

Is that something that requires you to change the grip as well?

Mario Tabachnik: We moved the seams so I am holding the seams a little more. Instead of holding just one seam, I am trying to hold two so I can pull it down a little more.

You were worried about your mechanics. What did you need to improve upon?

Mario Tabachnik: First, I was drifting a little bit towards home and falling down. We are working on balance. I think it is going well. We are working everyday on the slider and mechanics.

Everyday with my mechanics we do some balance drills to help me stay back. That is the whole point – if I stay back, my delivery is sound. If I fall down, my delivery is bad and the ball goes up.

Is it easier to keep the mechanics sound out of the windup versus the stretch?

Mario Tabachnik: It is the same. For me, I am working in both the windup and stretch. We do 20 repetitions out of the windup and stretch. It is getting to the point where my mind decides what it will do and the body follows. When I go to the mound, I don't have to think about it and just start doing it. I believe I am doing that every time I am pitching.

Are there times when you feel you need to be quicker to the plate to stop someone from stealing a base on you?

Mario Tabachnik: If there is a man on first and he is a quick runner, we try and do the slide step instead of the high leg kick to get a little quicker.

Your body still needs to stay back to get the same accuracy. Sometimes it doesn't work. We continue to work on that, even with long tossing. It helps out. The catcher has thrown the runner out several times this season when I have given him a chance. It is good.

You have inherited a bunch of runners this year and very few have scored.

Mario Tabachnik: That is good. We are trying to keep them close. We try to keep close games. We try to stop the damage if we come in with men on. We do our best.

It doesn't mean that run is not yours. That run is yours because you are pitching. It may not go on your stats but it is on you.

You have had some really good outings and other ones where it has been tough for you to avoid that one big inning.

Mario Tabachnik: That is true. I am talking to Rid (manager Greg Riddoch) about that. I have a good outing and the next one is a tough one. I don't know. Maybe I get too comfortable in my outing. ‘Ok, I did well in my last one. This one will be an easy one.'

I am trying to get that out of mind. I need to pitch like every day is a new day.

There have been times where there were a few broken bat base hits and that is baseball. That is the fun of the game.

You have given up a couple of extra base hits – is there a particular pitch you feel they take advantage of to get those types of hits?

Mario Tabachnik: I think sometimes I throw my changeup to righties and when I leave that up it goes straight to the gaps. If I get it down, it is ground balls. I continue to work on the changeup. That is the pitch that gets hit for doubles and extra base hits.

Have you become more comfortable throwing inside?

Mario Tabachnik: Last year, at the end, I started to throw more inside. At first, I was scared to throw inside. My velocity when I threw inside was lower. Working everyday has been paying off. I have been able to throw inside, break some bats, and see success.

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