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May 20, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Q&A with Madison Younginer

When the Lowell Spinners open NY-Penn League play on June 18, right-hander Madison Younginer could very well be the club's opening day starter. Selected in the 7th round of the 2009 draft, Younginer was given supplemental first-round money to sign out of his commitment to Clemson. The 19-year-old impressed this spring with his mid-90s fastball, sharp curveball, and mound presence, but still needed some work on refining his changeup, honing his command, and finding a consistent release point. He is presently in extended spring training down in Fort Myers, and whether or not he is the opening day starter, he will likely make his professional debut with Lowell when short-season ball begins next month.

Mike Andrews
: I
hear that you’ve been dealing in extended spring training. Can you elaborate on how the extended spring training games have gone for you thus far?
Madison Youninger: I've definitely learned a lot from extended spring training. I haven't been allowing many runs, but I have had some trouble keeping my pitch count down. Lately, I've been concentrating on getting ahead in counts and getting batters to swing. This past Monday I threw against the Orioles and went 3 innings allowing no runs, no hits, and a walk. I threw 37 pitches, so the work is paying off and I'm trying to keep it going.

MA: How is your changeup coming along?
MY: I started throwing the changeup with a new grip back in Instructional League last fall and I'm very happy with it. My pitching coaches have been preaching the importance of having a good changeup and I think they're correct about that importance. I've developed a good feel for it and I now have confidence throwing it in all counts. Using it really allows me to keep hitters off balance at times.

MA: I understand that you’ve also been working on command and the repeatability of your delivery. How is that going?
MY: Yes I have - that's also going well. I've been working on not over-rotating and staying square to the plate. We do towel drills in early work every day, which is where I'm gaining that repeatability in my delivery. I feel like my command has also improved significantly, which has allowed me to actually pitch rather than just throw.

MA: What one teammate has really impressed you down in extended?
MY: Many players have been playing well, but I'd have to say that Chris Court has been really impressive. He locates to both sides of the plate consistently with all three of his pitches and has been a very good closer.

MA: You must be excited to get into real game action. Have you talked to any of your teammates about what it’s like to play in Lowell?
: Yes, I'm definitely excited. I'm not sure where I'll start out - they haven't picked the Lowell team quite yet, but I have talked to some players that have played up there - just out of curiosity of what it's like. I've heard great things about the fans so I look forward to playing there at some point.

MA: Whether it’s this year or next year, you’re going to end up playing for Greenville, which is essentially your hometown. What do you think the pros and cons will be about playing so close to home?
MY: I'm really looking forward to playing in front of my hometown some time in the future. I think the pros will be being close to my family and getting some home-cooked meals. I'll also have a lot of support from family and friends when I play there. A lot of people say that all the support will in turn result in pressure, but I disagree - I don't think there will be any cons to playing in Greenville.