Interview with Pete Zamora, Lake Elsinore Storm Pitching Coach
On Friday night I covered the Lake Elsinore Storm’s 8-6 loss to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Before the game, I spoke to their friendly pitching coach Pete Zamora. A laid back guy who is always generous with his time and discussions with me, Zamora was pleased to give an interview to me.
Q: As far as you’re concerned, how do think Adrian Morejon is feeling at the moment? I know the injuries have probably been tough — So where do you and the rest of the coaching staff feel like he’s at right now?
A: “He’s in a good place. He knows that everything has been done, you know it’s just making sure everything’s okay. You know, it’s not a serious injury at all, and it’s something pitchers get all the time. He’ll head back to Arizona and get some rehab there and from what I hear he looks to be throwing a little in instructional league, then shut him down. But you know he had a great year. There’s nothing I’m too worried about. He’s got a smile on his face knowing that after all the results everything’s fine. He understands what he has to do when he is throwing and as he gets older, I mean — mechanics are gonna be quite a big part and he knows that. I think everyone is just happy that it’s not serious [Morejon’s injury].”
Q: How would you describe the pitching of Michel Baez, and was it always a case of him being able to move up to Double-A this season?
A: “I thought the picture was for him to start here, and maybe, I mean we wanted him. We thought he was good enough to pitch in Double-A. He had a slow start with the injury, and facts are facts that his mechanics were off when he showed up here, and he still was able to give us some quality starts, but it didn’t seem like him. There were some mechanical flaws — some bad habits that maybe came back into play. Once we fixed those bad habits and he was able to repeat the good stuff, he started to punch people out, he wasn’t walking people, and then he showed us — okay, this is what we were waiting for. So he pieced together about four or five straight outings where we were like, okay, it’s time.”
Q: Is there something that, maybe guys like Bryan Mitchell or Carter Capps when he was here, have been teaching the younger guys?
A: “Well the most important thing is our guys watching what they do — their work, their routine is impeccable, they get in here and they’re not here to screw around of mess around when they get here. Now Carter Capps is one of the greatest characters of all time. I love Carter Capps because he does love to joke around in the clubhouse, but when he gets here [on the field] there’s no harder worker. I could say the same for Chris Paddack. When they’re here, they like to joke around a lot, but when it comes down to work, no one works harder than Chris Paddack and the Carter Capps of the world, so our guys have watched that. Reggie Lawson really watched that. His locker was next to Chris Paddack and he learned a ton from him, and the most important thing is your routine everyday and what you show up with everyday to become a big leaguer is to bust your ass everyday. You’re going to have some good outings and bad outings but it doesn’t change what you’re doing everyday work-wise. Reggie learned a lot from him [Chris Paddack].”
It was a very enlightening conversation with Zamora, in which I learned a good amount about the character of the players whom he has coached this season. He clearly knows a lot about baseball and how to approach the game as a player every day.
In the bullpen before games he is largely observant, yet includes very specific information to his pitchers when necessary. He is working with some very talented pitchers that have thrown for the team, and he seems to have a strong understanding of what is making them successful or not.
It was a pleasure to speak with him, and Zamora is always a nice guy who clearly connects well with people. When we’re dealing with something as specific and sometimes delicate as pitching can be, it’s highly important to have someone like Zamora around to guide the young arms.
A sophomore at Willamette University in Oregon, Conrad is majoring in Spanish but is also a writing center assistant for other students at Willamette. He has been a Padres die-hard his whole life and hopes to bring comprehensible statistical analysis to the site.