- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

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Young left-hander Matt Chico is one-half the answer of a Washington Nationals trivia question: Who did the Nats receive from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Livan Hernandez trade?

The D-backs traded Chico and right-hander Garrett Mock to the Nationals for Hernandez, adding to the stockpile of pitching prospects the Nats are building. On Wednesday, Ken Wright sat down with Chico and talked about his first big-league camp:

Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out that you had been traded to the Nationals?

A: My initial reaction was shock because I was told at the time that I wasn’t going to be traded at all. Things happened and business had to take over, and I ended up here. I walked in and they told me I had to be out in about 32 hours. I had a flight, and I was gone.

Q: You reported directly to Class AA Harrisburg. How did you like playing there?

A: Harrisburg was a different atmosphere because I’ve never played or been on the East Coast. So, just being on that side of things was a lot different. On the baseball side, the league [AA Eastern] was different. It was a little better hitters, I’d say, and everybody was great, the town and players.

Q: I hear Harrisburg’s Commerce Bank Park sits on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River. Was that a pretty cool place to play?

A: It’s right close to downtown on a little island. It wasn’t bad. It was a little rundown, but it was kept in great shape.

Q: Do you think being a left-hander benefits you with the club because the organization doesn’t have that many left-handers?

A: Yeah, I think it is, only because it’s like any organization: Being a left-hander is a benefit because you can do only so many things as a pitcher. Whether it’s a starting position or wherever I’m put, I’ll be happy wherever I go.

Q: What do you want to get out of this spring training camp?

A: I want the same thing everybody else does, and that is to go out there and perform at the best ability you can and show them what I can do. I want to show them what I can do, and wherever I’m placed is up to them. That’s their decision, and I’ll be happy with wherever I go.

Q: What is in your pitching repertoire? How many pitches do you throw?

A: I throw four: Fastball, curveball, changeup and slider. I’m usually 88 mph to 91 mph.

Q: What did you do this offseason?

A: I sat down and took a vacation, got engaged and just spent time with the family and worked out. We went on a cruise and went to Jamaica, Cozumel, and I can’t remember the other place.

Q: If you don’t make the Opening Day roster, where do you see yourself playing? Do you think you’ll go back to Harrisburg or AAA Columbus? Have they talked to you about it?

A: I’m thinking wherever I’m placed, I’m just going to pitch the best I can. It’s really out of my hands.

Q: Have you seen the Washington Nationals play? Do you know anything about the Nationals?

A: Not really, no. The only thing I know is the guys I’ve played with for that month.

Q: The plan for the organization is to stockpile young talent. It appears that you’re part of the plan. Does that affect your situation at all?

A: They want to start going young, and I think they’re making good strides at it. I think a lot of guys in this locker room right now are in their 20s. They have a goal and a set time where they want to do things, and I think they’re doing a great job at it right now.

Q: What was the craziest thing that happened to you at Harrisburg?

A: There weren’t really too many things. The bus rides were just killer. A couple of them were a good 13 hours or 12 hours.

Q: Are there any of your Senators teammates in this locker room?

A: Beltran Perez. He was there for a little bit and then got called up.

Q: Have you spoken to Garrett Mock since both of you came over in the Livan Hernandez trade?

A: He’s a good friend of mine. He had [knee] surgery in the offseason, but he looks good right now. I saw him on my way out here. His knee looks good, his arm looks good, body looks good. He’s in good shape right now.

Q: What’s Garrett’s plan? Is he going to try and play this season?

A: He’ll be ready for [minor league] spring training.

Previous Q&A; sessions:

Ryan Church

Brian Schneider

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