Q This is a homecoming for you, right?
A Yup -- born and raised here, essentially. This is my favorite place on earth. It's been so great to us as a family ever since my dad did what he did out here. It feels like a home away from home if that makes any sense. I spent the first six years of my life back and forth between here and Orlando.
Q Did you always want to pitch?
A You know, I didn't. I wanted to hit until I found out I [stink]. So I stopped. But, if you give me 10 swings in batting practice, I'll hit three, four out. But the others aren't pretty. And if you put any kind of wrinkle on it, I won't touch it.
Q Did your dad teach you his changeup?
A He did. To be honest, though, I never really listened to my dad. I didn't listen to anybody; I took a lot for granted. And that was just part of being young. Now that I'm older ... I actually just within the last couple of months when I decided I wanted to make a comeback started listening to him, and it makes a big difference. My God -- it's Frank Viola, who wouldn't listen to him? I wish I would have started listening to him 26 years ago. Better now than never.
Q How did signing with the Saints come about?
A I was working on a website for my fishing show down in Florida, and I realized I can fish my entire life. I still have this opportunity to pitch. Unfinished business. I feel like I have something special to offer this game. I've never worked hard at baseball, always taken it for granted. Until the injuries, I pitched well for the White Sox [organization]. But I never gave it everything I got. And that's not a good feeling inside you. I didn't want to go out like that.
Q Is there a fun sibling rivalry between you and sisters Brittany (a world-class diver) and Kaley (a Division I volleyball player)?
A I gave up on that a long time ago. I worked out with Kaley the last two months, and she makes me look like an idiot. She's stronger than me, jumps higher, runs faster. And Brittany is in a league of her own. I'm the worst athlete in the family. Well -- other than my mom. Sorry, Mom.
Q Are you going to check out Target Field and relive some Twins memories?
A You know, this is going to sound stupid, but I was back in Orlando when the Yankees beat them in the last game at the Dome, and I cried. When I saw that, and I knew that I'd never pitch on the same mound my dad did here, it was a turning point. I thought that would be the coolest thing, and that opportunity is over. But Target Field looks nice. Maybe someday I'll be there and pitch to Drew Butera.