Blaine Boyer was one of the first players I had a chance to talk with the other day. He was very friendly and had some good things to say about the team - he gave some very honest answers, which was refreshing. He's been having a terrific spring - no runs in four innings. Blaine pitches today on the road split-squad team, so we'll see if he can continue his solid spring.
Martin Gandy: How is your spring going so far?
Blaine Boyer: It's going pretty good. I'm throwing well - the arm is feeling well.
MG: How's the rehab on the arm going?
BB: I'm done with rehab, one hundred percent done.
MG: I see you've got the magnet necklace around your neck. What do they do for you?
BB: I like them I think. Supposedly it creates better blood flow - blood circulating...that's what they say. Shoot, I could be a total mental for all you know.
MG: How was your winter, what did you do this winter?
BB: Well, I got married.
MG: Oh, really. Congratulations.
BB: Thank you. I finished up rehab...yeah, I got married...honeymoon, [then] came back here.
MG: Where was your honeymoon?
BB: We went to St. Lucia and we went to Atlantis in the Bahamas, it was a lot of fun.
MG: What do you think your chances are of making the club this spring?
BB: I don't know, that's up to Bobby, and I'm just trying to show that I can pitch.
MG: You working on anything special this spring, any new pitches or anything?
BB: Just trying to stay consistent with my changeup. Trying to kind of tone my delivery down a little bit, and that's really it - just trying to compete like everybody else.
MG: How hard was it last year to basically sit out most of the year?
BB: It was terrible. Yeah, that was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
MG: Were you able to pick right back up where you left off?
BB: I feel like it, yeah. I don't feel like I've lost all that much. I feel like once spring training started, I picked the ball up and I've been good to go the whole time. I haven't really had to struggle...obviously honing mechanics, stuff like that, getting that back, I'm still working on that. It hasn't really been too much.
MG: What's the competition like - there are a lot of people competing for what seems like a very few spots?
BB: Oh, if there are any spots in the bullpen. You just got a bunch of really good arms here.
MG: Do you feel that they're all kind of slotted out already?
BB: I really honestly, I don't know. You know I've been surprised before, and I've kind of learned over the past few years just to never try to guess, never try to play GM - you don't know how it rolls.
MG: You made the team out of spring last year.
BB: I did. I made it out of spring and then real quickly went down with a shoulder injury. But yeah, I don't know how it's going to turn out. I know regardless of how it does turn out Atlanta is going to have a really good pitching staff, they should be real fun to watch whoever does make the team.
MG: What do you do when you're not playing baseball?
BB: I do a whole bunch of hunting.
MG: There are no hunters on this team; you must be the only hunter on this team?
BB: There's a bunch on this team, especially when Rochy was here, he kind of headed the whole thing up. We've got a good group of hunters on this team.
MG: What's the team to beat in the National League?
BB: Well, you can't overlook us - Braves are solid. Who else, there JJ, who else is another team to beat in the National League?
Jonathan Johnson: Oh man, don't quote me.
BB: Shows you how much we care about the other teams right now. I think just given our record and the history, the Atlanta Braves have always been a team to recognize.
MG: Is that swagger still there, even though we're not coming off a winning season?
BB: Absolutely. I mean, just look at our head honcho, Bobby Cox, he doesn't expect anything less than championships.
MG: So nothing has changed really.
BB: Not at all. When you've got guys taking the hill like John Smoltz, and you've got Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones behind him and Huddy on the mound. Just the fact that we wear that Braves across our chest and our hat, that makes us a contender pretty much.
MG: Well, thanks a lot. Have a good spring and good luck on making the team.
Photo courtesy of Chip Jett.