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March 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Q&A with Boston native Jack McGeary

Jack McGeary is a born-and-bred Bostonian who played his high school ball at Roxbury Latin. Prior to the 2007 draft, he was scouted heavily by the Red Sox but was eventually selected in the sixth round by the Washington Nationals. Signed by the Nationals at the 2007 deadline for $1.8 million, he had the unique opportunity to attend Stanford University full-time while playing professional baseball on the side. This offseason his hometown Red Sox selected him in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

He recently pitched one inning on March 23 in a GCL game against the Twins organization. He featured a 90-93 fastball along with a 74 mph curve on which he got two strikeouts. While the fastball command could have been better, the velocity is there for the left-hander along with a solid breaking ball that he uses as his out pitch. I recently sat down with McGeary to discuss his transition to the Red Sox organization, his unique path through professional ball, and the multiple injuries that have caused setbacks in his development.

Jonathan Singer: Were you surprised to be selected by the Red Sox in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft?
Jack McGeary: I was pretty shocked actually as I had no idea the Rule 5 draft was going on. I woke up and had a text on my phone saying [I] got picked by the Red Sox. While I was shocked it happened it was definitely a good thing for sure. I was happy immediately and it’s been going well so far.

JS: You’re a local guy from Boston who attended Roxbury Latin. Did you ever think growing up that you would have the opportunity to play for the Red Sox?
JM: They had scouted me pretty heavily out of high school. Really up until the draft I thought there would be a possibility to be drafted by them. I was a little bummed not to be drafted by them — who would not want to play for the Red Sox — but it made it that much sweeter getting picked up by them this year.

JS: What were your families first thought when the Red Sox selected you in the Rule 5 draft?
JM: They were obviously pumped for me. To them it really doesn’t matter that much as long as I do well. It is something that is really cool and hopefully I will be able to live at home and they will be able to see me play a lot.

JS: How has the transition been going?  
JM: It’s still baseball and it’s the same game, but the biggest challenge has been getting used to all the new faces. I was with Washington a long time (six years) and I was really familiar with everybody in the organization; I knew the coaches all really well and I had a lot of good friends there. Coming here and getting to know a whole bunch of new guys, it’s been a little bit of an adjustment, but everyone here has been awesome. The coaches have been great to me and I met a lot of new guys so it’s not been too tough.

JS: Have the Red Sox tinkered with your mechanics since coming over?
JM: Not really. They are really letting me do my own thing and its been going well but [the pitching coaches] have been giving me some suggestions here and there. But they kind of said day one, "we know you can pitch so just go out and do your thing."

JS: What differences have you seen from being here with the Red Sox coming from an organization like the Washington Nationals?
JM: It’s not a whole lot different. Towards the end in Washington, the big league team was getting a lot better so the winning attitude was starting to show throughout. But here it's kind of win or bust at all levels and it's something we have been preached to about. We are in an organization that expects to win and we as players should do the same.

JS: Coming out of high school you made it known that you wanted to attend Stanford University full-time while also playing professional baseball. How important was that to you?
JM: That was one of the things that I talked to all the teams about that were interested in me, that I wanted to go to school. Obviously I committed to a great place. The Nationals treated me really well and they let me fulfill that wish. I am happy I did it. At times it was tough as year-round I was doing something, but I graduated and it feels pretty good to get it done.

JS: Do you still think that was the right decision?
JM: I have no doubts about it. So many great things happened while I was out there [at Stanford] and it was just a really good experience overall. Not that many people get that opportunity to go to school full-time along with playing professional baseball.

JS: You had Tommy John surgery back in 2010. What was that recovery like for you?
JM: Really the toughest part by far was the mental aspect of it. Knowing that you would come back okay and trying not worry about lost time and projections. Physically — knock on wood — I have been feeling really good. I kind of went through the rehab of the Tommy John without too much problem. My elbow has been solid ever since.

JS: Have there been any setbacks from the time you first started throwing off the mound?
JM: Unfortunately, I ran into a couple other more minor injuries that have kept me out a bit. The last few years have had some lost time which has been pretty frustrating, but for really the first time in awhile I feel 100-percent and it's exciting to pitch without worrying about pain all the time.

JS: Have the Red Sox discussed what type of role they have set for you this coming season?
JM: I think right now I am mostly going to work out of the bullpen. I really have not thrown a whole lot of innings the past three years so I am not expecting to go out and throw 160-170 innings, but as long as I make it through the season healthy it will be a successful year.

JS: What type of goals have you set for yourself this year?
JM: Honestly, my biggest goal is just to make it through the season healthy. It’s been a battle the past couple of years but I am confident in my abilities, confident in my talent, and if I can just stay on the field for 140-plus games, it’s going to be a really successful year.

JS: When you were going through the multiple injury issues, was there ever a part of you that considered walking away from the game?
JM: Not at all. I have been playing baseball since I was five years old. It’s what I love to do, and if some teams are willing to give me an opportunity, I am going to take it.

Photo credit: Jack McGeary by Kelly O'Connor

Jonathan Singer is the Digital Correspondent for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Singer.