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Minor fits right in with Rome Braves
by Alex Farrer, Rome News-Tribune Sports Writer
9Â hrsÂ agoÂ |Â 41Â viewsÂ |Â 0Â Â |Â 0Â Â |Â Â |Â
Mike Minor throws to the plate during a game with the Rome Braves. (Ken Caruthers/RN-T.com)
After Atlanta drafted Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor in the first round in June, the waiting began for the big lefty â€” and the Braves.
The negotiating process lasted until Aug. 6 when the two sides finally came to terms on a deal that awarded Minor the highest signing bonus of any Atlanta draft pick ever.
A few days later, Rome fans were thrilled to hear the news that Minor would be heading straight to the Class A affiliate to make his debut. Minor did just that on Thursday, pitching two scoreless innings and giving fans a little taste of what they could expect for the rest of this season and in the future.
On Saturday, the Bravesâ€™ top pick made time to sit down with the RN-T for a one-on-one interview. Among the topics discussed were his first appearance, the signing process and the pressure going along with being a high draft pick.
Here are some excerpts from the conversation:
RN-T: What was it like to finally get back on the mound in a competitive situation after more than two months since your last college appearance?
MINOR: Obviously, it was a great feeling. Iâ€™ve been waiting all summer for that. Usually every summer Iâ€™ve played USA ball and or been playing, so I havenâ€™t had a summer off since I was like 12. It was a weird feeling being at home, but I got to do some stuff I havenâ€™t really gotten to do like catch up with old friends.
I was pretty relaxed out there (Thursday night), rather than being nervous or worked up because the guys joke around a lot and itâ€™s kind of a laid back atmosphere around here.
RN-T: What was the negotiating process like? Did you ever feel like the deal wasnâ€™t going to get done?
MINOR: I kind of felt like that, but I had that same feeling out of high school when I got drafted by Tampa Bay and it never got done. This year, I really didnâ€™t have that much of a demand, like some of the other top picks. Top 10 picks usually get over-slot. Mine was a little over, but not like the other guys. I told them what I wanted the day after the draft, and they told me it was going to get done, but they had to wait for the commissionerâ€™s office. Some times I didnâ€™t know what was going to happen, but it was a process I had to go through.
RN-T: After not signing with the Rays out of high school, do you feel more prepared now that you spent some years in college at Vanderbilt?
MINOR: Definitely, because I grew up as a person and an athlete. I got stronger and better. Iâ€™ve got better stuff now with two breaking balls. I throw a little bit harder now. I have more of an overall knowledge of the game, hitters and just how the game works. In high school I just went out and played the game, but now I have more of an idea about strategy.
RN-T: Do you feel any added pressure being the No. 7-overall pick and being awarded the record signing bonus?
MINOR: Pressure comes with that. You go out there and give up five runs within your first or second start, or even if I had given up one run the other day, everybody would have been like â€œwhoâ€™s this guy?â€ or â€œthey paid him way to much money.â€ But you can only be yourself, and canâ€™t do anything more. You canâ€™t throw a different pitch or throw harder. You just have to do the same thing you did in college and thatâ€™s why they picked me.
RN-T: How has the team received you and has there been any rookie hazing?
MINOR: Actually, I expected it and prepared to have a little bit, especially being a No. 1 pick. But all the guys are cool, and they embraced me right away. They hung out with me like I was a teammate right away and like theyâ€™ve known me forever. Thatâ€™s how the younger guys are. I feel like the older group would be the bitter ones because they havenâ€™t made it yet, and they would have had more of the hazing part. The coaches, the players and the staff has all embraced me well.