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06/06/2006 8:22 PM ET
Luke Hochevar transcript
Royals' No. 1 overall selection eager to get started
"It's definitely a humbling honor to go to a great organization and to go first overall is definitely humbling. I'm ecstatic and I'm ready to put my head down and work my butt off for the Kansas City Royals."
On last year's negotiations with the L.A. Dodgers:
"I learned a great deal of lessons through all of that. I learned about the people I can trust, which is definitely Scott Boras. The negotiations last year with the Dodgers, the scouting director felt that I wasn't worthy to be paid with the top college pitchers of last year's draft. And I learned that a scouting director can make or break an organization. I'm going to bust my tail to make (the Royals) extremely happy and to do my best to help the team out and help the organization. God had a plan in this and his master plan definitely worked. It was tough through it but you go through and when it all comes down to it, God has a plan and it definitely worked a miracle in my case."
On his demands from last season to this year:
"That's in Scott Boras's hands, and mine as well. We want to be treated be fairly. The Royals are a great organization and they are willing to get it done. We're excited to proceed and move forward with this."
On getting a deal done quickly:
"That is the plan - to get going. I'm fresh. I'm game ready right now from pitching down in Fort Worth. I have 22 innings under my belt and I'm continuing to throw bullpens here. Whatever their plan is for me, I will be prepared for it. I have to keep my nose in the day in, day out grind and do the things I need to do to get better. When the time comes I will head out and start pitching my tail off for them.
"It should be a pretty quick negotiation. It sounds like the Royals are ready to get it done and get me out playing. Like I said earlier, I'm game-ready. I'm up to a 100-pitch pitch count. Now that I'm done throwing in Fort Worth, I am back in Knoxville throwing bullpens and keeping my arm in that game-ready shape and staying in that shape mentally as well. As soon as they get me out, I'll be ready to go for them.
"Whenever they are ready, we're ready."
On the Royals new GM Dayton Moore:< br />
"I have followed the story. I have not met him, but all I have heard of him is great things. It sounds like he's the guy who is going to step into this organization and make some good changes and really get it going for them. I am just extremely humbled to be in this situation and extremely excited to take forth what the Lord has in store for me."
On the timing of his draft day:
"I got up and got a good workout in. It was a workout that drug out a little longer than usual having the draft on my mind. I ended up getting a good work out in, work always comes first. After the workout I did a lot of praying and did some conversing with God. It was a busy morning but it turned out to be great."
On his intense preparation and workouts:
"That's where I get my confidence. That's where I live. I love seeing improvement and I love taking my briefcase and going to work. I take more pride in that than anything, it's my bread-and-butter and I enjoy doing it. I love seeing the improvements from the physically to the mental to learning the game, all aspects of it. I just eat it up and I really love it. It's really not work for me when you enjoy it that much. I put in good hours and in return I have the opportunity to go to a great organization like the Kansas City Royals."
On what playing in the Independent League taught him:
"It really opened my eyes to how lucky really I am. Playing with guys that are scrapping to play the game that they love and to see how hard those guys work in the Independent League. To be given this opportunity is extremely humbling. I just thank God for giving me this opportunity to be drafted by a great organization like the Royals. I am beside myself right now to tell you the truth."
"It was really good for me to be in that 5-man rotation going from the 7-day rotation in college. We simulated that a lot in my off season training I went from a 7-day rotation down to a 6-day and then to a 5-day rotation, to get in that rotation shape. Going to Fort Worth was a great experience. Those hitters, they're older, they're experienced and they're a lot smarter. I learned a great deal playing there due the change of game and the discipline of the hitters-they control the strike zone a lot better. The speed of the game overall, I believe it has helped me a significant amount. Just learning the game at the next level, pitch selections, count selections, stuff like that has been very helpful for me. Due to the physical part of the 5-day rotation I had to tweak my workouts, my lifting, my running to really get comfortable. My arm is extremely resilient and I bounce back pretty quick for that 5-day rotation, but it is more about how I wanted to feel on game day. Changing my lifts and my workouts to feel how I really wanted to feel. I am just extremely grateful to the Fort Worth Cats for the opportunity to play and keep getting better."
On how the Independent League helped him off the field:
"It is the game and that is about it. There are not many perks except going to the yard - the travel, the bus rides, the locker rooms. I was extremely lucky at Fort Worth, we had great facilities, good locker room, great people in the front office. My experience was very, very good. It opened my eyes to guys loving the game and how much I loved the game, how much I missed it when I wasn't able to play while going through negotiations with the Dodgers. I wouldn't change it for anything."
On what was learned last year that will help in this year's talks:
"Scott Boras probably knows the situation better than anybody and I trust him a lot. The negotiations with the Dodgers were with a scouting director that didn't think I was worthy of a contract that the other top pitchers in the draft had received. I have all the respect for the organization but that's how it turned out. I could advise younger players not to believe the young, inexperienced agents who make salesmen pitches to try to get players, just to get clients. The way that Scott handles things is extremely professional. He is by far the best in the business. The Scott Boras Group is surrounded by ex-players and very good attorneys. I feel extremely comfortable that he knows the situation better than anybody else and knows when it is time to get me out and get me going."
On a possible ballpark figure:
"Those discussions will be between Scott and the Royals. They took me with the understanding of getting me out quick and getting me going. The business side, Scott and the Royals will take care of that. They work well together. I am just excited to be a part of the organization and I am ready to bust my tail for them and work as hard as I can for them."
On his knowledge of the Royals and his fit with:
"The opportunity that I have to work my tail off and help the club means a lot to me. I take great pride in that-helping the club. I know that they will get it together with the new general manager and things will be good. With the great history of the Royals, they are a solid club. They have good prospects in the minor leagues. I have played with Alex Gordon with Team USA and I know him pretty well and we're pretty good friends. They are doing good things right now. I am just in the mode to go out and make them proud that they took me with their first selection."
On his future with the Independent League:
"I am done with the Independent League. I am in Knoxville, Tennessee working out and throwing bullpens to stay in shape and be ready to go whenever they say it is time to be ready to go."