TigsTown Q&A: Whitecaps pitcher Jair Jurrjens

Jurrjens has spent '05 in West Michigan

Some prospects are known about from the day they are drafted by the Tigers; others come around much quieter. So was the case with Jair Jurrjens, who came from nowhere last summer to emerge as one of the better pitching prospects in the organization. Jurrjens has continued to improve, as he spoke with West Michigan Correspondent Deb Ziegler about his 2005 season what he has in store for him in the future.

TigsTown: The ‘Caps were able to make the playoffs by claiming the second half wild card. How would you compare the 1st & 2nd halves of the 2005 season?

Jair Jurrjens: The first half we had a lot of holes hitting-wise and pitching-wise. We were just getting to know everybody and we weren't playing like a team. In the second half, we knew everybody and we're more together and we're playing like a team.

TT: What's working well for you personally right now?

JJ: Just being myself.

TT: Did you have a specific goal for the season or something you're working on?

JJ: My goal for this year was to win at least 10 games. And I was able to make it.

TT: Who, or what, has been the biggest influence on you as a pitcher?

JJ: A lot of people back home, and in my first year of pro ball. A lot of people have helped me be here today.

TT: And how about the toughest lineup you've faced this year?

JJ: Cedar Rapids. They run a lot and they take you away from your game because you worry more about the runner than the hitter. You can make mistakes.

TT: In 2004, you played a short season. Was your first full season schedule been a big adjustment?

JJ: Not so much – they said it would be more difficult because I would pitch more innings, there's more games. If you work yourself out, and do your work every day – it's not going to be as difficult as they say. It all depends on you.

TT: As a young pitcher, do you give a lot of thought to your career as a whole? Or do you focus on the next game & let the future take care of itself?

JJ: Everybody wants to move up quickly -- especially when you're young the team wants to take you slowly. But I think for my age I'm doing pretty good – not bad. I still have things to work on, I'm still learning. But for my age I think I'm doing pretty good.

TT: What is your signature pitch?

JJ: My fastball. And sometimes my change-up too.

TT: How would your teammates describe you?

JJ: As the happiest guy on the team. All the time I have a smile on my face.

TT: What can fans expect from the ‘Caps in the playoffs?

JJ: We have a big chance to do it again this year, like the team did last year. The team is coming along really good. We're playing like we're little kids now. That's always good because you're not looking at it like a job anymore. We're having fun. I think the fans are in for a great finish from this team.

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