Friday, July 1, 2016

IronPigs Quotables: Brundage and Perkins interview excerpts

This week I chatted with Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage along with outfielder Cameron Perkins. Brundage spoke on several topics including his All-Star closer, veteran Edward Mujica and a pair of starting pitchers. Perkins, also an International League All-Star, spoke about his efforts that earned him such a nod and more. Read ahead for those interview excerpts.

D Brundage
Dave Brundage, image- Jay Floyd

-Speaking about Mujica's contributions to the IronPigs' club...

He's a big reason why we're closing ball games out and shutting the door and it's nice to have a veteran in that situation and when he's in there, he throws strikes and, you know, he's not overpowering, but he certainly knows how to pitch.

-I then asked Brundage if he thought anyone else on his team was deserving of an All-Star nod...

I mean, you know, Nick Williams did-- I mean, for a young guy, I personally, you know, nothing against Mujica, I like voting for younger guys. Just for the fact that I think it means more.

But I shouldn't speak for guys like Mujica because he's earned it. He leads the league in saves. But I tend to side more towards the young guys. I think there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone's got their own opinion and everything like that. I think just the younger guys might appreciate it a little bit more, you know, where the older guys have already been through it. You get Cameron (Perkins), who was here two years ago and didn't have a good showing. For him to be back and be recognized and (Andrew) Knapp, his first year here to be recognized, it's pretty cool.

-Offering thoughts on lefty starter James Russell, who tosses seven shutout innings in his most recent outing...

I think for him sometimes it's the early going. Kind of knew right from the get-go there that he was throwing strikes, he was in the bottom half of the zone, his change up was there, you could kind of see it early on. His other outings, you know, and I've seen he hasn't gone that deep into ball games. I've seen that before where he's gone four innings and five innings and stuff like that. But in other outings where you can see his misses and trying to force things, he didn't have that from get-go. I think he kind of feeds off that and it's important to him. Like a lot of guys, but at the same times some guys are able to get it.

You watch (Jake) Thompson early in the ball game, sometimes he's kind of struggling to find himself but he seems to find it the last three or four innings and seems to hit stride around the 6th and 7th innings. Russell's kind of the opposite where I can kind of see from my eyes that he had it yesterday and he kind of fed off that.

-Speaking on the keys for right-hander David Buchanan to be successful...

He's stayed within himself. I think he's not trying to be somebody he's not. It makes sense. He's understanding staying away from the big inning and understanding what he needs to do to stay away from the big inning. You know, confidence is a lot but at the same time I think he's understanding how to get himself out of that big inning and understanding how to do it within himself. Sometimes he wants to do too much and it feels like a lost cause once he gives up a big inning and things just kind of snowball on him likes it has here the past couple years. I think he's kind of understanding and finding himself a little bit, which is not to say it's not gonna happen again, but at least when you've got yourself in a situation you understand how to get yourself out. I'm not sure that he ever understood how to get himself out. 

Rather than compete, compete, compete and fight, fight, fight sometimes you need to go in reverse sometimes and pull back the reins a little bit and say, "Hey, look. That's not me. That's somebody that overthrows."

C Perkins 2
Cam Perkins, image- Jay Floyd

-Sharing some feedback about what earned him a spot among the IL's top players in this year's All-Star Game...

I feel like I've been playing good defense. I feel like I've been running the bases well. I feel like I'm having one of my better years on the base paths, so any way, any little things-- it may not even be numbers wise and I think the coaches and the team and everyone knows I try to do anything I can to help the team win. You know, if it gets me and All-Star (nomination), then I'm glad to see that it's paying off.

-Talking about the fan support that he has gotten in recent seasons with Reading and Lehigh Valley...

That's why we play this game. We play for the fans. That's the biggest reason. You know, I try to do as much as I can for them. You know, I'm a big believer in trying to do our community service program and give back to the community and talk to the fans and get to know them by name. We have a lot of fans that come to all our games and just saying, "Hey, how are you doing?" every once in a while. So, I think having the fans liking me and appreciating me as a player I think that means more to me than numbers or anything like that.

-I asked Perkins what type of feedback he would offer to a young fan that might wish to follow in his footsteps and play baseball in college and at the pro level...

For off the field I would say, "Hit the books!" I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my ability to perform in the classroom, getting my scholarship to Purdue and graduating in my high school top ten and getting all that done in school.

And on the field I would say have fun. Learn to do everything. I see kids say, when we're doing the camp out there, they'll say, "Oh, I'm a shortstop." Well, you know what...if I have kids down the road, they'll learn to play everywhere. The more you learn about this game, from catcher to pitcher and from outfield to infield, the more valuable you're going to be as a player. I'm learning to play center this year, which I've never done. I think it's only making me more-- you know, whatever can get me in the lineup! You know, maybe we don't have a center fielder that day. Put me in the lineup! Same thing, you know, I've had to play first a couple times this year in emergencies. The more you can do, the more you can help your team out. That's all I'd have to say.

-On the topic of which veterans in the IronPigs' clubhouse have stood out as being guys that are models for younger players to learn from...

I know Will Venable's not here anymore but on the outfield side, he was a great role model, a great guy, a great person to have in the clubhouse and learn a lot from. And Mujica's the same way. He's been there for so long and knows so much so anytime you can pick his brain or anything like that-- and especially, Mujica likes to keep it loose and he likes to fool around and have a lot of fun and that's also important because you don't want to get too stressed out in this game. So I think those two guys definitely stick out.

For additional quotes from Brundage and Perkins have a look at my recent IronPigs Notebook by clicking HERE.
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