Mike Piazza is nearing his return to the majors.
STOCKTON, CA -- Future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza is on leg two of his minor league rehab stint. Piazza has been on the DL since May with a sprained right shoulder. He has played in three games with Sacramento and two with Stockton this week. Paul Muyskens caught-up with Piazza in Stockton to find out how he is feeling, his thoughts on the A's season and his return to the field.
Paul Muyskens: How is the shoulder doing?
Mike Piazza: My hitting is coming around a little quicker than the arm but the arm's improved a lot. I don't know where it'll be in another week or so, but I'm just coming down and trying to get some of my timing back.
PM: What is the tentative plan right now for your return?
MP: I played three games there [Sacramento], then I had a day off [Monday] went in to the stadium and got some therapy and worked out. I thought it would be fun to come down here [to Stockton] and see different parks and play with the kids. It's good for me to get back and enjoy the game, see some young talent, and face some young pitching.
PM: Is there an immediate rush to get you back to the majors?
MP: I want to personally. I want to get back out there. I feel like I've been ready to hit for three weeks. I've tried to be as accomadating as I can personally to catch and the shoulder just hasn't come back as I hoped to catch at the big league level.
I told Billy I want to be activated as soon as possible and so I gave him about 7-10 days down here to just try and get my swing back. I've been out since May 3rd and it has been a long time and in the meantime I'm trying to get ready and see what direction they want to go in.
PM: Any extra discussion of you coming back and catching with the trade of Jason Kendall?
MP: For me, step one is to get back physically and go from there and physically I'm just not quite there throwing-wise. In the meantime, I'm going to keep hitting and keep throwing and maybe in a week or so it'll be different and I hope it is but right now it's not.
My personal goal is to come back hitting and to continue rehabbing the shoulder and hopefully the arm comes around good enough to catch.
PM: Do you want to eventually catch when healthy or would prefer to continue to DH?
MP: Yeah, I want to catch when I am healthy. You have to be 100 percent throwing-wise to catch in this league with all the quick runners. Number one, I want to do well for the team, you have some good pitchers up there, and then I want do well personally so I want to make sure I physically can do it.
PM: What are your thoughts on the Oakland A's struggles this season?
MP: It's been a frustrating season. Obviously things haven't panned out the way they hoped, but at the end of the day it's one of those things you have to deal with sometimes. As a player, it's tough for me sitting on the sidelines and watching the frustrations, but personally I've always worked as hard as I can no matter what the record is. I want to play, I want to be on the field, and from there if my future is to finish the season with the A's great, and if not, that's up to Billy.