Casey Meets the Press

Jan. 26, 2010

Oregon State baseball head coach Pat Casey

General comments on the season...
'We play 57 games, we open up in Hawaii, and I think that everyone who participates in a spring sport is always anxious to go, because you are here all year. You see football get going, basketball and gymnastics, and you want to play some games but you have to wait. Right now I think our guys are extremely excited about getting together and practicing as a team, and getting ready for a pretty challenging schedule.'

Three weeks before you play, issues or questions you want to resolve before the season...
'The one thing that everyone is asking about is Josh (Osich). He unfortunately lost his footing and slipped while playing catch and that injury is going to keep him out for the rest of the year. That is something that you need to take care of right away, he is considered one of the best pitchers in the country. Those things happen in athletics, if he wasn't such a great kid, for some guys that would be fatal, but Josh being a good student, someone with a lot of vision, he will make something good come out of it. Where the team is considered, our main concern is to try to replace three of the four guys that played in the middle. We lost our center fielder, short stop, and our catcher, I don't know how you would replace a guy like Ryan Ortiz offensively, and John Wallace playing centerfield for us, who's two championship rings speaks for itself. I think those are the places that you have to defend, obviously we are concerned about that, and we will try to address those issues as we go.'

Schedule of the homes games, is this the way you wanted it?
'How it came together, was the coaching staff trying to match up home and away series and trying to get some return games going. As far as the way it turned out the way we wanted it, I sure hope so. Any time you can play over 30 home games up here in the Northwest, is great for the fans and the kids and keeping us away from traveling as much as we do. Looking at our opponents that we have it is obviously challenging. It will be very tough, but we want it that way. Those are the challenges that you have when you expect yourself to be mentioned with other teams that are the best teams in the country.'

Are you getting settled in with the 57 games and the small window of time you have...
'They went for the override to try to go back to the 13 weeks but it's going to stay at 14 weeks, which is really going to help to give us the extra week to play the 57 games. This year because we are playing in Hawaii, we get an exemption on those games, so we actually could play 60 if we chose to, but it's pretty difficult to do that. So we are going to play 57 and I think the way its set up is good as we can expect, I really believe that there is some common ground maybe 15 weeks would please people in the Northwest as far as getting everyone on common ground. It doesn't seem to be the best fit for the students to play that many games in the small window of time, but that's what we have and we will take it.'

Have any of the freshman impressed you?
'I think the fall is difficult to tell, certainly there is high expectations for kids like Andrew (Susac) and Danny (Hayes) who came in here who was injured in the fall and is coming back from that right now. I think until you actually get under fire, and when the lights are on and the guys are calling ball and strikes it's hard to tell. You just never know, it's a wonderful way for college athletes to seize opportunities to set up their form.'

On Susac and his improvements...
'He has a very strong arm, and he can have an impact on the shutting down the running game. He is still just a freshman and those things are difficult, but to have a freshman get a head start certainly helps. When good clubs find weaknesses, they expose them. By the middle of the summer, they were pitching things that he wasn't able to handle; he needs to make those adjustments. I know he can do that, he is young and a worker and those things are the foundation of a hard worker, which he does not lack.'

Getting back from the tournament and the experience they had...
'It's kind of good when someone says to you that you didn't have the year that you wanted to have, but I thought we played extremely well. Other then the game that we didn't pitch well and we got ourselves in the position where we couldn't make a change because of the thought that we were playing more games, which we did. We got beat 5-4, and the opportunity to push it to the second game against a good club, A&M was ranked No. 1 in the country part of the year, we played them twice and beat them. I hope it has a big impact on the guys that are returning, and I hope that it is motivation for the people who are there that returned.'

Different guys becoming a leader...
'Sam (Gaviglio) is not a real vocal guy; he is as quite as they come. If Sam would just be quite and win 10 games then I am all in. I do think there are guys who lead by how they play on the field, guys who lead by being a little bit more vocal, and there are guys that lead by things they don't say. Leadership is a funny thing, because each guy needs to lead by his own manner which fits his makeup. We didn't have anyone who stepped up in that leadership role last year. A guy asked me why we didn't have a captain, and I said `because we don't have a captain.' Guys earn that, it's kind of like respect, you have to earn that. Same thing with being a captain, people who have been around need to step up and become leaders and know that the game isn't played on paper.'

Loss of Josh Osich and the pitching staff...
'I think it could be good, I hope that there is a hunger for someone to fill that role, and to pick him up. Even though he is down, we are going to pick him up. Also, it opens up an opportunity for someone who was not going to play that role. If you lose the guy who is your Friday night guy, you can't fix something like that, they fix themselves. We will make those adjustments as we play and have a five man rotation.'

Do you have any idea where to put Jared Norris...
'I feel that every series kind of sets its own tone for you, with what you have to do. As much as Jared (Norris) plays will depend on how much he plays, how he plays, and who are we playing. Jared has played well enough he can play against right or left hand pitching. Depending on how other people perform will all come into play, but Jared is very capable for playing outfield and first base.'

Versatility to have a player plays multiple positions...
'John Tommasini can be good as a defensive shortstop or good as a second basemen; I do have that kind of confidence. He needs to be more of an offensive threat this year. There are times if you have certain people in the order that are lighting it up, and scoring enough runs you can get away with some things. John is very capable and can offensively help us, by doing the things he is capable of doing, putting the ball in play, pitch selection.'

How do you feel about the power on this ball club...
'Power can be somewhat overrated at times. I can recall playing teams that had a higher power than we did, but we played a differently type of game. Last year, that was one of the things that we wanted to do, we had a kid that we really liked who we saw a lot of power in, but he went back to a junior college. That hurt us with power, but we certainly don't want to become one dimensional. Joey Wong made every play; it is hard to replace that. There are some guys that are going to hit some home runs that are going to surprise some people. I always hesitate to try to encourage hitting for power. I don't like to try to change someone's approach. Hopefully we will hit more homeruns then we did last year.

Not a power guy, but wants more from Tommasini...
'Contact would be the first one. John (Tommasini) has got himself in the best shape that he has ever been in. He is lost a bunch of weight, reconstructed it, and running much better. Trying to get him as well rounded offensively and I think he has done a great job to prepare himself. If John could cut down the number of strikeouts, and increase the on base percentage, John will be just fine.'

Sam Gaviglio winning 10 games and the pitching staff...
'I think if you work backwards, Kevin Rhoderick can be as good as any closer in the country. He obviously came out and had 12 saves as a freshman and was arguably one of the best closers in the conference. We expect him to be our closer, we expect him to be dominate in what he does. Kevin has matured in the area of thinking that dominating is striking everybody out, being dominate means getting everybody out. Sometimes when you are young, and you throw hard, you don't pay as much attention to the details of the game. I think Kevin has realized that he wants to be more of a complete pitcher because Kevin can be a dominate guy.'

On the makeup of the Pac-10 this year...
'Over the last seven years, anytime you don't think someone in the Pac-10 is going to be good, you are making a big mistake. The conference is always is a dog fight. We feel very good about the fact that pitching is going to be at the forefront of the conference like it always is. I certainly don't want to short change our conference because this is the conference of champions, this is the best baseball conference in America.'

Junior Infielder Stefan Romero

The experiences from last year's tournament give you any experience to what to expect for this season...
'Coming in as the new guy last year, I expected a lot and expected to go to Omaha. Making the NCAA tournament really meant a lot to the new guys that were coming in. We are expecting more out of the new group of guys that are coming in this year and expect more out of us after being there last year.'

Teams stance of where they are...
'A lot of the guys played summer ball, trying to work and improve on the difficulties that they had last season. They took that and with the consideration really worked hard at their flaws in summer ball. Those guys, who took that and worked on it, will definitely help us this season.'

Looingk at pitches, and hitting for power...
'You just have to work your counts, and get into a good hitting count. First of all, you can't think about being a power hitter; you have to know how to work the counts.'

Teammates and the new freshman...
'Last year, as Jared (Norris), Sam (Gaviglio) and I came in last year; Joey (Wong) and John (Wallace) took us under their wing as they guided us to lead the team this year. We gained more experience from them last year, and took more initiative as being a leader. We have a lot of freshman and junior college players, so we took them under our wing to make them feel a part of this team like we were.'

Junior infielder/outfielder Jared Norris

The experiences from last year's tournament give you any experience to what to expect for this season...
'It is important to get to play in a regional and getting the feeling of the competition on the field and the fans, especially that we weren't at home so that was good for all of us. A bunch of us can tell the guys who are coming in of what to expect and what it's going to be like.'

Teams stance of where they are...
'You can just tell that the guys that are coming back, their bat speeds have increased over the summer. The knowledge of being a better hitter takes up more than your talent and knowing how you fit into the lineup.'

Teammates and the new freshman...
'They are a great group of guys first off which is awesome, being at practice and spending a lot of time with them is great. They want to win just as much as we do, we know that and they know that. Hopefully we have made it clear for them that they can ask us any questions about that, I think they are all ready to help us when they want to. I know being a new guy, having the returners to clear up anything that they need us too.'

Sophomore pitcher Sam Gaviglio

Good season last year, do you see people watching you in particular this season...
'It is just a result of my process of what I have been doing, sticking to the work outs and listening to the coaches, say thing as last year. I see it as just another season, its baseball, it's a game and I just try to have fun.'

How excited is it to get ready for this season...
'I can't really even explain it; I have been waiting since we lost last year. We have been getting ready and we can't wait.'

Seeing you as a candidate for Josh Osich's position...
'I would love to be the Friday guy; we have a great staff. There are a lot of guys who are competing for this position, I am not the only guy who wants it, and so it really brings out the best of us.'

Loosing Josh Osich, and how that impacts the team...
'It's a bump in the road; every team has to deal with adversity. He is a great guy with a strong arm, yes we could use him, and he is just a hard guy to replace. It is part of being a team, and having to deal with that kind of stuff.'

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