Relief pitcher Ryan Pressly, by far, leads Twins pitchers in appearances this season (63 entering Saturday). His body of work (6-6, 3.71 ERA) isn’t perfect, but he’s emerged as a stabilizing force on a staff with plenty of problems. The 27-year-old Dallas native chatted recently with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q You hit 99 miles per hour a couple of times on the radar gun this year. Where is that velocity coming from?
A That’s a good question. I switched to new trainers this year and worked out with a bunch of guys who pushed each other pretty hard this offseason. My best friend, Drake Britton [a Tigers minor league pitcher], is going to be working out with me this offseason and probably pushing us even harder.
Q You could possibly touch 100. Can you even imagine that?
A Every bullpen guy and pitcher wants to hit 100. But like I tell everyone else, I’d rather have 93 to 95 and locate it than have 100 right down the middle. You see what happens to 100 down the middle. It’s cool to throw that hard, but I’d want to do it under control.
Q Aside from personal success this year, has it been hard to go through long stretches of losing?
A It’s never fun going through this, but I talked to Eddie [Guardado] down in Toronto, and in a weird way I’m kind of glad this is happening to us. All these young guys now, all we can do is work our way up. And if we ever hit this kind of a skid next year — which I hope we don’t and I’m pretty sure we won’t — I think we’re going to be able to respond a lot better. I know the year is pretty much a loss, but we can still take something from it.
Q I’ve heard you’re a big football fan.
Q College or pro?
A Doesn’t matter to me. I love it all. … I know a lot of Minnesota fans aren’t going to like it, but the Cowboys are my team. I remember telling [Twins TV play-by-play voice] Dick Bremer, ‘I really appreciate that Herschel Walker trade. Y’all made us look good.’ I’m a huge college football fan, too. As long as there’s football on TV, I love it.
Q And you played growing up, right?
A Yeah, I mean you kind of have to in Texas. It’s kind of frowned upon if you don’t. My dad played. My cousins played. All my friends played.
Q But you had a pretty serious knee injury in high school football?
A A torn ACL, LCL and MCL. … It was weird, the guy hit my knee and I felt a little awkward. It didn’t pop or anything, so the next series I went out there. I planted and there it went. It sounded like a shotgun went off. Needless to say that was the end of my football career.
Q Not that it’s comparable to what happened to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but what was the process like for you to have to come back from something like that?
A It’s a long, tedious process. It’s just annoying. But you kind of find out who you are. … You have so many people in your corner telling you to trust it, but really there’s only one person you need to listen to and that’s yourself. He seems like a really strong guy, so he’s going to be able to bounce back.