As the 2011 season wound to close, the Yankees, as they do every year, invited a few of their most promising prospects to Yankee Stadium to observe big league life. To add a little more flavor, they do it during a series with a Red Sox. This year, the team invited three pitchers: Manny Banuelos, David Phelps and Adam Warren. I caught up with all three hurlers during that series. Here's what Warren had to say about the experience, as well as a few other topics.
Josh Norris: Where were you when you got the call that you were coming up here?
Adam Warren: I was just at home, hanging out. They told us before we left Scranton, so we were just kind of waiting for them to confirm it.
JN: So it was certain when you left?
AW: They told us that we were, but we didn't hear from them until about Wednesday, that we were going to come up and see this series.
JN: Why do you think they picked you guys?
AW: I feel like we're close (to the big leagues), and if we get that opportunity to come up here (next year), then we've been here, know where to go, that type of thing. Just to get familiar in case so it's not really a culture shock to us.
JN: Going through this season, how close did you think you were to a promotion?
AW: I thought I was close. I felt like I still needed to work on some things. I feel like I took the right steps this year to get closer, so I'm just looking for that break, I guess, just to make that next step.
JN: Specifically, what do you feel is remaining for you to work on?
AW: Just keep improving. Keep refining the pitches. Just my knowledge of the game -- keep learning. I feel like I've got the stuff, I've just got to keep learning and get better.
JN: Of your three secondary pitches, which do you think has taken the biggest strides this year?
AW: Slider. It's gotten harder, it's gotten sharper. It's more of swing-and-miss pitch now. My change-up also has taken strides, but I think my slider is the biggest one.
JN: So right now, if we're ranking your pitches, it goes fastball, then the slider, then the change-up, then the curve, right?
JN: So what have you taken, so far, from your experience with the big club?
AW: Just kind of learning everything that goes on around here, just getting familiar with everything. If I get the opportunity to come back up here next year, I'll feel a lot more comfortable with how everything works.
JN: It must be kind of surreal today, considering it's Roger Maris Day, and Yogi Berra is here, among a bunch of other Yankees from the past. What does all that mean to you?
AW: That's pretty neat. There's tradition with the Yankees already, and just to see some of it being recognized here, that's pretty neat. To have an opportunity to be here on that special day, it's just a lot of fun for me.
JN: When you look around this clubhouse today and you see guys like Phelps and Banuelos and Betances and Laird and Romine, what does it say to you about the way the Yankees have reinvested in their farm system?
AW: I think it means they have confidence in us, and seeing some of the guys, like Dellin and Brackman get some opportunities up here is really neat. It shows that they have confidence in us and they want to throw us out there.