Komine is looking to get back to Oakland in '07.
Shane Komine has had a whirlwind last 12 months. Since March 2006, Komine has attended his first major league spring training, reached Triple-A for the first time, made his major league debut and gotten married. Now Komine is looking to build off of that memorable year. We spoke with the Hawaiian right-hander on the eve of spring training.
Shane Komine is used to riding waves of momentum. The Hawaiian native is an avid surfer during the off-season, but Komine is riding a different wave right now. He is coming off of a strong 2006 season during which he made his major league debut.
Between his time at Triple-A and in the major leagues, Komine threw 149 innings. Making it through that many innings was important for Komine, who underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2004. Komine was most effective in July and August, when he went 6-0 with a 1.07 ERA for the River Cats.
That July hot streak earned him a brief major league call-up. During his major league debut, Komine allowed only one run in six innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a game the A's would eventually win on a walk-off homerun by Milton Bradley. Komine struggled in his second major league outing, however, lasting only three innings against the Texas Rangers. He was sent back to Sacramento after that outing. He finished his Triple-A season with an 11-8 record and a 4.05 ERA.
Entering spring training 2007, Komine is one of several candidates competing for the Oakland A’s final starting rotation and bullpen spots.
We spoke with Komine on the eve of pitchers and catchers reporting day in Phoenix, AZ.
OaklandClubhouse: Have you been in Phoenix for awhile now?
Shane Komine: I’ve been down here for about a week.
OC: Are you feeling settled at this point?
SK: Yeah. We moved into our apartment with no problems and I have been working out every day.
OC: Do you feel more comfortable this season having been at camp last season and now knowing a lot more of the guys?
SK: Oh, definitely. It’s great to know all of the guys now. Last year, I had some jitters, you know, being up there for the first time, but this year I know what to expect and I am coming camp ready. I’m just excited to start the season off.
OC: What kind of expectations do you have after last year and getting a little taste of the major leagues?
SK: Well, every year I want to go into a season and have a healthy one and have no problems. If there is a spot open, I also want to be in a position where I can try to earn that spot, whether it is in the bullpen or starting. This year, I know that we signed a lot of guys and that spots are very limited, but if I can put myself in a position to vie for a spot up there, I’m going to do that.
OC: What did you learn from your two starts at the major league level last season? Was there anything that you took back with you when you returned to Sacramento?
SK: I think that I tried to be a little too fine last year [in the major leagues]. I tried to hit the corners too much instead of just going after the hitters like I was in my eight starts before that in Triple-A. I really learned from that experience, just being up there. It’s the same game, just with bigger crowds, and you just have to go out there and execute and compete and that is what I am going to do this year.
OC: What was it like to step out on that major league mound for the first time, especially for a big Sunday day game in Oakland like that?
SK: It was an awesome feeling just to know that I had made it there and that I could consider myself a big leaguer now. The hardest thing to do is to stick up there and unfortunately I didn’t, but at least I know this year what to expect and what I need to work on. I’m just going to go out there and work even harder than I did last year and hopefully I will have a spot there sometime during the season.
OC: You and Jason Windsor got to spend time together in Sacramento last season. Did you guys compare notes on your experiences up in the big leagues last season?
SK: Definitely. We became really good friends last season. We stayed with each other on the road while we were in Sacramento. It was great to be able to share thoughts with one another on what we need to do the next time we get up there and also to look back and learn from each other what the other person saw, the faults that the other person can correct, while we were up there in the big leagues. It was good to have him as a roommate and a teammate and a good friend.
OC: You ended up throwing almost 150 innings last season in your first full season of pitching after your Tommy John surgery. How did your arm feel?
SK: It felt great. Knock-on-wood, I am hoping that that was the end of all of my arm problems. You know, you never can predict those kind of problems, but I learned that I really needed to take care of my arm better. In college, I really didn’t worry about too much [related to the wear-and-tear on his arm], and it finally caught up with me. This is my job now, so I know that I have to work as hard as I can to be healthy as possible and to keep earning that money and doing the things that it takes to go out there and be healthy for each start.
OC: What was it like to go back home to Hawaii this off-season after spending so much time stateside during the season?
SK: It is great. I miss the surfing and I miss the water during the season. To be able to go back out there and surf again, it’s fun. This year it was even better because Rich Harden and Esteban Loaiza came down for my wedding and we all went out there and I took them surfing and we all had a really great time.
OC: Did you get a chance to talk to Barry Zito about surfing when you were up in the big leagues?
SK: I did. Actually, the funny thing was back when I first signed in 2002, I had my locker right next to his when I was visiting the Coliseum. I got to talk to him back then and I got to talk to him about that again last year. We just reminisced about that day back then and that we both love surfing. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to surf with him.
OC: Congratulations on getting married. Was it a whirlwind off-season for you?
SK: Oh, it was. This off-season went by so quickly. I was always doing something, whether it was working out or I actually had a part-time job as a valet at one of the hotels there and then planning the wedding, so I really had no time to rest. It just seemed like last season just ended and I’m right back here at spring training again.
OC: Have you seen a lot of the other players at camp already?
SK: Yeah, we have about 15 or 20 guys that are out here already. I have been working out with Esteban and Rich and a couple of other guys. Dan Haren just showed up the other day, so we are all getting back into the swing of things again and I know that everyone is anxious to get started again on Saturday.