Monday Night, March 1, 2010
Spring Training Q&A:
Twins Pitching Prospect Liam Hendriks
∑ If you were unable to watch my appearance on Fox 9ís Sports on Demand with Seth Kaplan and Phil Mackey.
∑ John Bonnes will be a guest (along with Joe Testa) on tonightís Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast. On Tuesday morning, Bonnes will be a guest on the KFAN Power Trip Morning Show at 7:20 a.m (1130 am or KFAN.com). †
Back again with another installment of the Spring Training Q&As. This time, we will learn a little more about Liam Hendriks. The Twins right handed pitching prospect missed all of 2008 because of a spinal injury. In 2009, he came back slowly, but quickly moved up to Beloit after starting games at Elizabethton. Hendiks is a right-hander, proud of being from Western Australia. He has good stuff and very good control. He is a guy that is definitely worth following in 2010.
ÖLet the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Now that youíve had a few months to look back and reflect, what are your thoughts on your 2009 season? What did it feel like to get back on the mound after missing the 2008 season??
Liam Hendriks: It was amazing being back on the mound. I thought my season went well I had some good defense behind me which really helped and I loved being in a team where we got to play night games instead of the 12 oíclock nightmare games of the GCL. Ha ha!
SethSpeaks: What do you do when youíre not playing baseball or working out in preparation for the upcoming season?
Liam Hendriks: Mainly
hanging out with friends. I still go down to my local team back in Perth,
Western Australia, and help coach some of the younger kids as well as the
senior players at the club.
I was pitching coach for our seniors top team this year so that kept me busy on the weekends, and I was also in the gym a lot. I just love it. Ha ha
SethSpeaks: When did you start getting ready for the 2010 season, and what was your routine?
Liam Hendriks: Iíve been throwing since early January just trying to get back in a rhythm. I was shut down from playing this year so it gave me a chance to get more running and some more gym sessions in with James Beresford.
SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Where would you like to play, and are there any statistics that you are looking to improve?
Liam Hendriks: I would like to start in high A, but Iím thinking I might start in low A and then have to perform to hopefully get a call up mid season, maybe a winning record? That would be nice but mainly just to keep throwing strikes and getting outs without walking too many and being able to get some quick innings to keep my pitch count low so I can go deeper into games.
SethSpeaks: What does spring training mean for you, and what are you looking forward to this year?
Liam Hendriks: Spring training is a chance for me to get back on the mound in game situations. Iíve missed it a lot this offseason. Itís going to be good to catch up with everyone and talk about the offseason what people got up to etc.
SethSpeaks: Who was your favorite player to watch when you were growing up?
Liam Hendriks: Coming from an Australian Rules Football background, I never really got into baseball and had never even heard of it until I started playing it as a kid. Once I found out what it was I always idolized guys that didnít have the best velocity or best stuff but just battled up there, and it gave me something to really strive towards. Some of the players I looked up to Iím now playing with and against; guys like Luke Hughes, Paul Mildren, Graeme Lloyd and guys that I could relate to because they were Australian.
SethSpeaks: What team did you grow up watching and cheering for?
Liam Hendriks: As I said before, wasnít much of a baseball fan, but I must admit I went for the Red Sox just to spite everyone else in Australia going for the Yankees.
SethSpeaks: What were your thoughts as you were considering signing with the Twins?
Liam Hendriks: I was ecstatic with the farm system the Twins have got. It was a definite plus for me. I had other teams interested but most dropped out after I did my knee for the second time just before signing. I think in the long run it was a good sign that the clubs that did stick around did. It meant that they really thought I was worth something.
SethSpeaks: Best thing of career in baseball?
Liam Hendriks: The travel and meeting new people. Just last year alone I went through AZ, FL, WI, TN, Mexico, Czech Republic, Italy. Just in places I remembered. Iím sure I went through others while in Beloit as well. Itís awesome being able to meet people from different cultures as well and knowing people in places that I might go to travel one day.
SethSpeaks: Toughest thing about career in baseball?
Liam Hendriks: The toughest thing is the workload. Itís a tough gig, especially in Spring training and extended; being up early and then training in the heat and then knowing you have to do this for another couple of months.
SethSpeaks: Funniest story in your minor league career?
Liam Hendriks: Funniest story, Iím not sure. There are a couple Iím not allowed to say. But there were a couple while in extended one year with an ex-Twin Elliot Biddle, an Australian guy. We all went to a big league game at Tropicana Field to see the Rays play the Twins and before the game a lot of the Latins were talking to Johan Santana, and Elliot went up and said hello and wanted a photo. Johan thought he was Latin and started talking to him in Spanish. Ha ha. I still donít think he has heard the end of it.
SethSpeaks: What would it mean to make your big league debut?
Liam Hendriks: It would be an amazing experience just to be called a big leaguer, with the amount of people you had to beat to get that spot over the years. I heard a stat about it, not sure if itís true or not, but something like 2% of all pro players make the big leagues. To be part of that would be amazing. Also because Australian baseball isnít big, it would hopefully help to promote the sport back there and attempt to get more people involved with it, and get some big crowds to some of the games