10. MILB Interview: Ryan Tatusko (Harrisburg Senators, Washington Nationals)
Greeting: Welcome back to On The Hot Seat, today I had the opprotunity to interview former Texas Rangers player and current Washington Nationals prospect Ryan Tatusko. Ryan 1st broke into his professional baseball career when he was drafted by the Texas Rangers back in 2007. After pitching in the Rangers minor league he was traded to the Washington Nationals for infielder Christian Guzman. Please follow Ryan’s journey to the majors as he writes his own blog please click the link to view his site (Website) and follow him on Twitter at @ryantatusko.
Justin Godsey: How do stay connected with your fellow fans ?
Ryan Tatusko: I stay connected with fans through various social media outlets. I like get on twitter and interact as much as I can, that’s my favorite platform since its quick and easy but I will also get on Facebook although I don’t do that as much as twitter. I also have a small passion project where I write a blog at http://www.ryantatusko.wordpress.com where I detail things about day to day minor league life and what it’s like for the players behind closed doors, I really enjoy writing this because it seems the more I write, then the more questions people ask and it just keeps fueling me to keep writing.
Justin Godsey: Tell us how you got into playing baseball ?
Ryan Tatusko: I’ve played baseball since I was a little kid, my dad was always my coach and I just always loved playing. I played some basketball as a kid too as do all other youth’s in Indiana but baseball was my true passion and I just loved playing it. No matter how many hours I spent on the diamond, I always wanted more and I have been incredibly blessed to still have that fire inside of today.
Justin Godsey: Growing up in Indiana what Major League Baseball Club and player did you grow up wanting to be on and wanting to be ?
Ryan Tatusko: Well growing up in Indiana is hard because we really don’t have any professional baseball teams here so whenever I would travel to my great grandfathers house in NW Indiana as a kid he would always have the Cubs game on TV but on Mute, he couldn’t stand announcer’s voices so he would watch it in silence. But every time I would come over he would have it on so I remember watching Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Dunston, Dawson, Girardi, and Maddux to name a few every day on TV so I just grew up watching them. The on thing that sticks in my mind to this day was watching Nolan pitch on highlights of sportscenter and I remember watching it over and over again and just thinking “wow, that guy has it all” “I want to be just like him” so although I grew up a cubs fan I always emulated Nolan Ryan in my backyard.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your High School Baseball Career ?
Ryan Tatusko: My high school career was spent at Noblesville High School in Noblesville, IN. I played 4 years of varisty baseball under coach Dennis Kas and I loved every minute of it. Besides my father he was the coach that started to instill hard work in us. He would often say “Sometimes we just do things because they are hard” and I remember thinking WHY? but growing up I understand now, that it was just a test to see how far you were willing to push yourself to be where you wanted to be. I didn’t pitch much my freshman year but I did get my first career win my freshman year in my first career start when our “senior stud” blew out his elbow warming up pre-game so that is kind of how I got my foot in the door. I played a summer with the Indiana bulls travel team, and that is where most of the recruiting started for me. I got a few general questionnaires from some pro teams as a senior, but it wasn’t anything serious. The game I remember most vividly was pitching against Brownsburg High School in the top of the 6th inning. I remember throwing a fastball and feeling like someone just ran up and punched me straight in the back of my elbow which was immediately followed by an intense burning sensation. I remember just grabbing my elbow and walking off the mound and telling out trainer “I need to go to the hospital right now” and sure enough my mother took me that night and the resulting MRI showed a 100% complete tear of my Ulnar Collateral Ligament which required Tommy John surgery the following week.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your recurting process to Indiana State ?
Ryan Tatusko: The recruiting process is a lot of fun, you get to go on 5 official visits where the school can take you to dinner or lunch and/or a sporting event on their dime and you also get an excused absence from school which every high school student loves. I really liked what Indiana St stood for in their program, and what they were trying to accomplish and they just got done being ranked in the top-25 the previous year so that was enticing for me as well.
Justin Godsey: Tell us about your tenure at Indiana St. ?
Ryan Tatusko: I knew that I was going sit out my true freshman year due to my surgery but I was able too compete and ultimately win the friday night starting job my sophomore year. There were always teams ranked in the Top-25 in the conference so I was always being put up to the challenge. Teams like Creighton, Evansville, Missouri St, and Wichita St were strong every year so there were always scouts coming and watching you play. I was a weekend starter all three years I was there, and I really enjoyed the staff and coaches there they truly helped me develop and mature on the mound and help me get drafted.
Justin Godsey: In 2007 your dream became a reality you were drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft tell us about the phone call you got from the Rangers front office ?
Ryan Tatusko: It was a blessing, I had a small feeling I was going to get drafted but I had no idea where. The phone call came from Derrick Lee the area scout for the Texas Rangers and he congratulated me and let me know he was going to be by my house for me to sign the contract. My family and I were both elated, but I also knew that this is when the true test of my skills were going to happen and no matter how hard I thought I worked before I was going to have to work that much harder now!
Justin Godsey: In 2009 you nearly threw a No-Hitter tell us about the game
Ryan Tatusko: I wrote a blog article about it on my blog, but to give a quick recap it was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done as a professional. A lot of people say “oh, I didn’t know I had it?” but in all honesty I knew. Where we were playing at in Modesto against the Rockies there is a massive scoreboard in left field so whenever a pop fly or ground ball would go in that direction you couldn’t help but see it so I knew what was going on. They did eventually get a hit off me with 1 out in the 9th inning on a 2-1 fastball, but Steve Bueschele (my manager at the time) allowed me to finish the game. Just to be able to say I took one for that long in a professional baseball game against professional hitters is still an accomplishment in my book, and I still have that ball (haha).
Justin Godsey: Tell us your transition from the Texas Rangers to the Washinton Nationals ?
Ryan Tatusko: The transition was a very easy one, the Nationals and the players made Tanner Roark and myself feel very welcome as soon as we get our proverbial foot in the door. The only thing that was different was that I have to hit now, which is fun and a whole new challenge in itself. I think last year being my first full year with the organization I tried to be more than who I was and it hurt me across the board with my numbers, this year I am feeling more confident and calm and cannot wait for spring training to start.
Justin Godsey: Where do you clock at right now ?
Ryan Tatusko: In my starts I am 90-94 but in my relief appearances I have been up to 96-97 at times.
Justin Godsey: Name all our top pitches ?
Ryan Tatusko: I throw a 4-seam fastball that has natural cut and sink to it, a slider and circle change.
Justin Godsey: What Advice can you give to HS/College Pitchers wanting to come to the Major Leagues ?
Ryan Tatusko: WORK! WORK! WORK! and when your dead exhausted and don’t want to do anymore go at it again! What kids have to realize is that watching TV or playing themselves on MLB: The Show won’t get ’em there. There are only a very very very select few of people who are incredibly blessed with so much talent that it doesn’t matter but for the rest of us its the hard work you put in that will ultimately show. You watch a lot of guys on TV and they might not be the best athletes or be the smoothest doing things but I can almost guarantee they are some of the hardest workers and that’s what it takes to put you on top.
Justin Godsey: What are we to expect from you in 2012 ?
Ryan Tatusko: I have goals and expectations from myself, I tried to do too much last year and tried to be a pitcher I wasn’t and I tried to do too much. I learned a lot down in Venezuela, working with pitching coaches and the rest of the staff down there that I am ready for 2012. I expect a lot more out of myself this year, but the biggest thing I want to be is to be more poised and composed in whatever situation I’m given.
— Personal Questions —
Justin Godsey: What is on your Ipod ?
Ryan Tatusko: I like a lot of country and 90s rock but there is a little Rap and HipHop thrown in there.
Justin Godsey: Do you play the MLB Video Games? If so do you have yourself created as the best player pitcher in the game ?
Ryan Tatusko: I don’t I am one of the most horrible video game players known to man!
Justin Godsey: Favorite Pre-Game Meal?
Ryan Tatusko: I love Chicken Parmesan