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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A conversation with Julio Mosquera

Julio Mosquera, the Yankees roving catching instructor, was in Reading for the Thunder's recent series with the R-Phils. He was kind enough to speak with me for a few minutes before last night's series finale. Here's what went on:

JN: Is there any concern within the organization about Austin's low percentage of runners caught stealing this year?

Mosquera: Not really. We're just working on consistency in his throws. His stuff is just going to get better and better as he goes. He's got to keep working on consistent and accurate throws.

JN: What specifically does he need to work on? Is it footwork, mechanics, arm strength?

Mosquera: You've got to give credit to the runners, too. I really don't get caught up in him not throwing out that many runners. He's working on his exchange and his footwork and everything a catcher has to do to throw a ball to second base. It's just a process. It's just development -- that's why we have the minor leagues.

JN: You've been here a lot this year. What's the biggest improvement you've seen him make since opening day?

Mosquera: He just needs to play, bottom line. He's getting better in every area, and he's young still. He's 21 years old, he's coming up in the organization pretty fast, he's moving along pretty good. He just needs to play and get more experience.

JN: Do you think there's any pressure on him in his first year as the everyday catcher, without splitting time with Jesus Montero?

Mosquera: No, not really. That's actually the best thing that could happen to him. He's got nothing to worry about; he's just got to go out there and play every day. It's not a pressure thing. You can ask him, too, and he'll tell you the same thing. He actually likes it because he gets to start day in and day out.

JN: Does having a guy like Rene Rivera, who's spent time in the majors, as a backup help Romine's development at all?

Mosquera: It's good thing to have somebody who, when you're not playing, you can watch what the other guy's doing. Rene's going to do a pretty good job behind the plate every time he's back there, so it's good for the days you don't play to see that, instead of just going and getting somebody else who really doesn't do a good job. When you have to watch that, you'd rather be in the game. Anytime he gets a day off and Rene catches, the pitchers are taken care of, so that's good.

JN: What kind of strides has Romine made in his ability to call a game?

Mosquera: He's made a lot of strides. Like I said, he just needs to play. He's going to learn. You learn how to call the game by playing the game. So the more he plays, the more he's in the game, the more he's going to learn how to call the games. That just comes with experience. The guys who call the good games in the big leagues, they weren't born with that stuff. They learned how to do it as they came. The game gives experience, and you learn from that.

JN: When you're learning how to call a game, what's the first major hurdle you have to overcome in order to succeed?

Mosquera: First and most important is (learning) the pitcher. You've got to know what you've got on the mound. You've got to know who's pitching and what his strength is and you've got to know his capabilities. That dictates everything. You don't really have to go by what the hitter does. You've just got to worry about what they guy on the mound can do, and execute.

JN: How do yout gauge a guy's mental aptitude when it comes to knowing whether he'll be able to adapt and learn a staff's strengths and weaknesses?

Mosquera: You can see it. Guys that make adjustments, guys that can read what the pitcher can do. You just don't get caught up in, this is the situation, I've just got to go by this way. You've got to learn and make adjustments as you go, on the fly. Guys who can make adjustments right away, those are the guys who have some future in the game.

JN: Going away from Trenton, what kind of improvements has Jesus Montero shown in his ability to stay behind the plate for the forseeable future?

Mosquera: I believe he can (stick at catcher). Jesus is making big strides behind the plate. He wants to learn, and he's working a lot on his throwing. It's the same thing as Romine, he just needs to keep playing and they're going to learn and get better day in and day out every day. The best thing is they want to learn. That's a great thing.

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