On the transition from reliever to starter
My arm was in shape, but making sure my legs are under me has been hard. On off days I run laps around the field, then sprint on the warning track. You listen to your body, push yourself and try to get stronger each time.
On his fastball
I'll still throw 99, 100 every start, but it's different. In the bullpen you know you'll only see a batter once, so you let it go. As a starter sometimes you hold back. You pitch less than you can, so that if you need a big strikeout later, you can throw one harder.
On New York City
Such an eclectic group of people—different cultures, different styles. In Nebraska [his home state] we don't get clothes from Europe; we get Wranglers.
On those swarming midges in Cleveland in the playoffs
It was miserable. They were everywhere. But it comes down to, when I came in, it was 1--0, and when I left, it was 1--1. I didn't do my job.
On being a natural lefty
I write and eat lefthanded, and if I use a tool that's real small and precise, I use my left hand. But if I need strength, tightening or loosening, I use my right. I can't throw lefty—it looks O.K., but I don't know where it's going.
On his beaded necklace
A Native American lady in Iowa made it for me and presented it to my aunt, who gave it to me this season. In our culture giving gifts is a big ritual and a sign of appreciation. It's handmade—a thank you for what I've achieved.
Can last year's rookie phenom be this year's ace?
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY