AJ Griffin -- Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE.
July 31, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Former University of San Diego All-American AJ Griffin has been red hot for the Oakland Athletics since being called on June 24, 2012. He has had seven starts, is 3-0 in these starts, and bolstering an impressive 2.51 ERA in 43.0 innings of work. USDToreros.com sat down and had a Q&A with the righty from El Cajon. Here is a brief transcript from that conversation.
(USDToreros) - AJ, you are off to a great start. Talk about how it feels right now.
(AJ) It's awesome man, I am having the time of my life right now. It's a dream come true. This is everything I imagined it would be and more. The guys are great, I'm doing the best I can, and it always helps when your winning, and as a team, we are playing great ball right now.
(USDToreros) - Talk about the day you got called up.
(AJ) Well I was in Las Vegas, we got there around 10-11, and I remember I lost money at the casino, really quick, and I was upset with myself for doing that, especially since you don't make a lot of money in the minors. So then I was chillen at the field. My manager called me in the office, and says "Griffin we are tired of the problems you cause on twitter, facebook, and all other social media." I didn't have a twitter account at the time so I knew something was off. Then he said there was also a problem at the front desk with me, then a pause and he said...naw I'm messing with you. Then he said, your not pitching tonight, and I was like what? Then he said you are pitching in Oakland tomorrow." So I was excited and then went off to Oakland.
(USDTOREROS) Talk about your first start, what was going through your mind.
(AJ) I don't think I was nervous, I was more pumped up, like I am here, lets do it! I was more excited than nervous. After a few pitches, it was like we are here, we are playing baseball like always. It's supposed to be fun, so I am having a blast.
(USDToreros) There was a rumor going around that after you gave up the first two runs against San Francisco, that you came in the dugout and said, I am not allowing another run to cross the plate. Was this true?
(AJ) Yes it is. I always believe that is going to happen, you have to be confident, even if your not, you have to look like you are. I truly believed I wasn't going to give up another run. Might sound arrogant, but you have to have that mentality or you are setting yourself up for failure.
(USDToreros) Most memorable moment so far in your major league career is...
(AJ) I don't have one that sticks out, the entire accumulation of moments have just been awesome. Its funny, I used to have an A-Rod poster in my room, and now I'm pitching against him. It's surreal. Pitching against Derek Jeter, A-Rod and all those great Yankees, as well as David Ortiz, and the Red Sox...pitching against Josh Hamilton and the Rangers, I mean the list goes on and on. But it is nice to be able to play against them at such a high level. This really is a dream come true.
(USDToreros) Did you think you would be here at this point in your career?
(AJ) I didn't expect it to be here this early, I was hoping for it, but I thought maybe next year. You know I just try to take it one day at a time, live in the moment, just like Coach Rich Hill always said. I am taking that mentality of one pitch at a time, and forgetting about that one bad pitch, and just being confident. You know I learned a lot from my coaches at USD. I also learned a lot from just playing in the minors, that experience has helped me a lot as well. I just try to work on getting better every day to just improve, and I am still doing that today. I think of this as an opportunity to get better, and cease every opportunity you get.
(USDToreros) So your time at USD helped you prepare for the Major Leagues?
(AJ) Yes! Man I was would have been way too immature for pro baseball without USD. I really value my time at USD and I can honestly say the coaching staff helped me mature, and prepared me mentally and physically for the pro's. So yes, without USD I would have been just another immature kid in minor league baseball.
(USDToreros) Talk about the most challenging batters you have faced so far.
(AJ) Wow, there have been so many great ones. Buster Posey, man he frustrated me, he just about fouled everything off I gave him, then I make one mistake and he goes yard. He is one of the more pesky outstanding hitters that I have ever faced. He gets the count where he wants it, and then executes. Josh Hamilton, man I felt like we had a good plan against him, and I felt confident we would do well against them. He did only got one hit off me, and he didn't beat me on that pitch, but he is a great hitter, you have to respect him. But the list goes on and on, so many great hitters out there, its hard to select just one.
(USDToreros) What is the biggest difference in minor league and major league ball?
(AJ) The travel, much more comfortable travel up here. The treatment when you are on the road, we are treated well, staying at nice hotels, the list goes on and on. I don't even think I am in the big leagues to be honest. I just feel like I am playing baseball. It's all just so surreal to me and I can't give you a clear-cut biggest difference. It's all just so amazing.
(USDToreros) How have you changed?
(AJ) Well one difference is I don't let things get to me. Like say if I give up a home run or the other team scores, I don't dwell on that anymore. I just forget about it and go on to the next pitch and seriously take it pitch-by-pitch, inning-by-inning, and live in the moment just like coach Hill always talks about. I say that is the main thing that has changed.
Toreros Participate in Linda Vista Parade
Toreros Participate in Linda Vista Parade
Men's Tennis senior Day
The Toreros host LMU and Pepperdine Saturday and Sunday
Softball WCC Preview
The Toreros host Saint Mary's Saturday and Sunday
2016 San Diego Crew Classic
The Toreros show speed against the nation's top crews
The Torero Baseball Experience
Kris Bryant & Brian Matusz reflect on their time at USD
MBB Senior Night
Jito Kok and Duda Sanadze prepare for the final home game
USD Baseball Season Preview
Season starts at No. 3 Vanderbilt February 19
USD Softball Season Preview
Season starts February 12
USD travels to No. 9 UCLA Friday
Toreros Host Kentucky Saturday
USD looks to defend home court against No. 22 Kentucky
Toreros Host Pepperdine & LMU
USD returns home after four-game road trip
Toreros Team Up with PYBL
Men's Basketball hosts annual clinic for Challenged Division
Men's Tennis 2016
USD opens at home vs UC Irvine and UCSD Saturday
Preview of USD women's basketball WCC opener vs. BYU.
City Championship Highlights
Relive the Toreros' Upset over SDSU at Petco Park
Toreros to Host Hope International
The 9-1 Toreros will host Hope International in their final game before WCC play
Toreros Stun Aztecs at Petco
Postgame reaction and press conferences
Toreros Return Home
USD will host Bethesda before Sunday's City Championship at Petco Park
Men's Basketball Season Tickets
Starting as Low as $99
Pono Keni and Coach Lindsey talk about Saturday's Senior Day game against Butler
Coach Fisher and forward Maya Hood talk about Tuesday's home-opener against CSUN
Coach Smith and Brett Bailey preview the season opener at USC
Jonah Hodges and Dale Lindsey talk about Jonah's return and preview Davidson game
San Diego Fall Classic Preview
Coach Dagman previews the San Diego Fall Classic
USD's Women's Basketball team will start their season at Nevada this weekend
USD Men's Basketball - The Origins (1955-1973)
A Glance at the Beginnings of Torero Hoops
Coach Lindsey and Jeff Starr preview Campbell
Coach Lindsey and Jereke Armstrong talk about the season so far
WCC Media Day
Behind the scenes with Men's and Women's Basketball at WCC media day
Dale Lindsey and Anthony Lawrence on USD's 45-14 win
Anthony Lawrence and Coach Lindsey preview game vs. Warner
Torero Community Service
USD Athletics helps out at Father Joe's Village in downtown San Diego
Men's Basketball Camp Update
Kok and Carter talk about the upcoming season
Toreros host Bulldogs for Homecoming game
Toreros look for 4th straight win
Pack the Stadium Night
ITA All-American's Preview
Petronijevic, Angus, & Vittek Prepare
USD Looks to Extend Home Win Streak
Toreros First True Road Game of 2015
CSUN and UCSB Preview
Toreros Look to Extend Win Streak
Aztec Invite Recap
Both Squads Finish Second
Toreros Take on Cross-town Rival
Highlights from 45-21 win
2015 Home Opener
Previewing Western New Mexico
Volleyball Tournament Preview
A preview of the USD Tournament
Men's Soccer Season Opener
Previewing No. 16 Cal
Training Camp Update
Coach Lindsey Recaps the First Two Weeks
2015 WSOC Preview
A brief preview of the 2015 Toreros.