Monday, January 2, 2012

Mike Loree Interview

Mike Loree was a 50th round selection (1441st overall) by the San Fransisco Giants in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft out of Villanova University.

Loree signed with the Giants on June 21, 2007 and was assigned to Giants rookie league team in Arizona where he posted a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings pitched.

In his first full season of professional baseball in 2008, he was 4-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 81 innings pitched for Salem-Kaizer.

In 2009 Loree struggled with Augusta in South Atlantic League posting a 4.67 ERA with 8-9 record in 123.1 innings pitched.

Even with his struggles in 2009, Loree was still invited to spring training in 2010, but was released with only one week left. A few days later he signed with the Newark Bears.

Things didn't change much Loree as he posted a 6-9 record with a 6.09 ERA in 130 innings pitched in 2010.

In 2011, Loree signed with the Long Island Ducks, and turned around his career. He posted an incredible 14-5 record with a 1.98 ERA in 122.2 innings pitched for the Ducks.

On August 22, 2011, Loree had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates and was sent to Altoona in the Eastern League. Loree posted a 1.17 ERA in 7 innings pitched for the Curve.

On September 8, 2011, Loree returned to the Ducks for the playoffs (Loree was/is still under contract with the Pirates organization).

In addition to being a 2011 Liberty Division All-Star, Loree was named 2011 Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year, 2011 Ducks Most Valuable Player, and a member of the 2011 Baseball America's All-Independent team.

Loree is currently playing winter ball in Mexico with the Caneros de los Mochis.

CM: What was your favorite baseball team growing up in New Jersey?

ML: When I was growing up I was a huge Mets fan. I have two older brothers and they both liked the Mets, so naturally I liked the Mets as well. We had the 1986 Mets "Year to Remember" VHS tape- I probably watched it close to a thousand times.

CM: Who was your favorite baseball player?

ML: My favorite players were Lenny Dykstra and Darryl Strawberry. I liked Strawberry because he hit a lot of home runs and Dykstra because his uniform was always dirty from diving or sliding.

CM: What was it like playing baseball at Villanova?

ML: I loved playing for Villanova. Most of my closest friends are guys that I played with there. The Big East was a fun conference to play in, could be a little cold at times though. But we made up for it with trips down south to play SEC schools in the beginning of the year. There was nothing better than shocking a powerhouse baseball school like Florida or Alabama on Friday night with a W. Those were memorable games.

CM: You were drafted in the 50th round (1441st Overall) in the 2007 MLB Draft? Do you remember where you were? What was your reaction?

ML: I was pick 1441 in the 50th round by the SF Giants, I barely snuck into pro-ball! I was at home in New Jersey. Going into the draft I had heard that the Phillies or the Giants were possibly going to draft me and if they did it would be late in the draft. Knowing that if I were to be drafted it would be late in the day, my girlfriend, who is now my fiance, and I went to one of my closest friend's house to go swimming and hang out and relax. I didn't want to sit and watch the computer all day. When we got back to my house, I turned my computer on and the draft was somewhere in the mid 30s and I had not been drafted yet. I watched for a while and then stopped due to frustration. My mom and fiance continued to watch the computer, while I pretty much walked and sat around the house trying to figure out where I wanted to send job applications to. After about an hour or two of this I decided that I needed to watch the end of the draft. When I returned to where my fiance was watching the computer, there were 3 rounds left in the draft and we watched the computer screen in silence. Right before the Giants made there last pick in the 50th round I remember turning to my fiance and saying, "Well, this is it." Then my name popped up on the screen as pick 1441. My mom came running in from another room screaming, my fiance was screaming, it was very exciting. But I think I was mostly relieved. I didn't want my baseball career to end- I had always believed I was going to be drafted and be a professional baseball player.

CM: In 2007, and 2008 you had a lot of success with AZL Giants and Salem-Kaizer. What was your favorite memory from those two seasons?

ML: My favorite memory from when I was with the Giants was in 2008. I was playing short-season with Salem-Kaiser in the Northwest League and I retired 62 of 63 batters during a 4 game stretch. In the fourth game of that stretch, I remember sitting in the dugout after five perfect innings having this clear realization and knowing feeling that was I was going to throw a perfect game that night. After the 7th inning I came back to the dugout and our manager, Tom Treblehorn (great guy) came up to me and told me that was it, I had reached my pitch count, which was 85 pitches for short season Giant affiliates. I asked him to let me go back out for the 8th but he said he couldn't let me do that. That was the closest I've ever come to throwing a perfect game. I will always remember that night and that feeling I had in the dugout.

CM: In 2009, you struggled with Augusta and were ultimately released. What was your reaction?

ML: In 2009 I had a mediocre year in low A. I knew for my age I should have done better at that level. Going to spring training in 2010 I was concerned about being released, and in fact I was released with a week left of camp. I was pretty upset. I felt like the dream was over and I felt like my career was over.

CM: In 2010, you came to the Atlantic League with Newark, what were your first thoughts of the Atlantic League?

ML: I was one of those guys who said I wouldn't play indy(independent) ball. A few days after I had got home, I got a call from the Newark bears inquiring and talking about offering me a contract to play for them. After a day or two of thinking about it, I figured I had prepared myself to play baseball in 2010 and I had an opportunity to do that close to home, where my family and friends could come and watch. My first thoughts of the league were, this league is tough! I got destroyed my first 3 starts! The level of competition in the Atlantic League was so much better than my previous level of low A. I was nervous I was going to get released again! In fact, after my second start of getting blasted, manager Rock Raines called me into his office and told me he was going to release me if I didn't pitch better. My back was against the wall and I had to figure out how to get guys out. So yeah, my first thoughts of the league were, these guys are good!

CM: In 2011, you signed with the Ducks and immediately proved you were the ace of the staff?

ML: I was excited that the Ducks signed me for 2011. I struggled in 2009 and 2010 but I also made a lot of improvements and changes in the second half of 2010 that made me more successful and helped me finish 3rd or fourth in the league in strikeouts. When I signed with the Ducks, I knew from the start that I was going to begin the year in the bullpen, which I was fine with because I just wanted the opportunity play and compete. It wasn't until Lenny DiNardo got signed by the A's that I was moved into the rotation. I just tried to take the same approach that I had in the bullpen to the rotation- be aggressive in the strike zone and throw every pitch with conviction.

CM: What changed for you 2011? How did Pitching Coach Steve Foucault help you in your develop?

ML: I started to throw a split towards the end of 2010 out of necessity because I needed a strikeout pitch. But I would only use it with two strikes on a batter. J.R. House really helped me this year understand how to use all my pitches effectively through out a game- understanding hitters approaches and swings and how to use my pitches best against them and how to better sequence my pitches.

Foukie is an awesome pitching coach! He most helped me this year with my daily preparation for my next start. He also helped me be quicker to the plate with guys on base. Also we worked on slider, which I think is going to really help in this upcoming year.

CM: On August 22, 2011 you had your contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates. How did it feel to get back into affiliated ball?

ML: It was exciting going back to affiliated ball. It was exciting knowing I was a little bit closer to making to the big leagues.

CM: On September 8, 2011 you came back to the Ducks? Why?

ML: When I signed with the Pirates, I made sure that it was in my contract that I could come back to the Ducks to finish the year and compete for a Championship. I wanted to finish what we had started as a team and that was to win a championship. That was important to me- being able to come back and compete with the guys we had.

CM: What do you think of Duck fans?

ML: Ducks fans are amazing! They came out and supported us every night. You can tell they love baseball and they love the Ducks! It was awesome to play in front of them.

CM: What do you think of your 2011 Ducks teammates?

ML: It was a special clubhouse in Long Island. It was the best group of guys that I had played with in professional baseball. The group of guys in our clubhouse had a winning/super competitive vibe that was contagious.

CM: After all you've been through the last few seasons what did it mean to you to be named "Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year," and be named to the "Baseball America's All-Independent Team?"

ML: As far as being pitcher of the year and all independent team, it's an awesome feeling and I'm really proud of that, but my job as a pitcher is the throw the ball over the plate and induce contact, everything else is out of my control and up to the guys behind me in the field. They are the ones who made all the plays and put all those runs on the scoreboard. And the bullpen night in and night out came in to nail down however many outs it took to preserve a win. Knowing how good our lineup was, how solid our defense was and as lights out as our bullpen was, it made taking the ball every fifth day a little easier. So the honors I received would never have happened without all my teammates. So, thanks guys!

CM: If you could play catch with one person dead or alive who would it be?

ML: I guess I have to say Babe Ruth, I mean it's Babe Ruth after all! Babe Ruth is baseball!

1 comment:

  1. love reading about my favorite duck! best personality on the whole team! i wish him the best with the pirates this year!