Our bullpen has been successful so far due to a combination of things. It starts with a mind-set that begins in our clubhouse. Every man in the bullpen takes pride in what he's doing, starting at the top with veterans like Trevor Hoffman, Doug Brocail and Scott Linebrink, and working down to some of the fellas who are just stepping in. Everyone goes out there with a workman-like attitude, ready to take care of business.
There's no competition between the relievers. We all know that the guy sitting next to us is just as capable of getting the job done as we are. We feed off each other's success. It only helps knowing that the guy sitting to next to you is going to get the job done if you aren't out there or the next guy isn't out there.
I didn't have the best Spring Training. I was trying to get people out, I just didn't. I had part of a Spring Training when I was with the Red Sox last year, but this was my first full camp with the Major League team. One thing I've learned is that I have a sixth gear during the regular season that I just didn't seem to have in Spring Training.
We have all kinds of pitching coaches on this team, whether you're talking about Bud Black, our manager, Darren Balsley, our pitching coach, or talking about Darrel Akerfelds, the bullpen coach. We've also got veterans like Hoffman, Greg Maddux and David Wells. There's an overwhelming amount of knowledge floating around the room pitching-wise, and I think we're all fortunate to be around it, especially younger guys like myself.
The thing I've noticed with the veteran guys like Greg, Hoff and Brocail, they all bring different kinds of knowledge. It's not, "This is how I do it so this is how you should do it." You can watch how they go about their business on the field and you can also watch how they carry themselves on and off the field.
For example, I like watching how Trevor Hoffman handles his boys. His boys are always around and it's very admirable. There's a lot of qualities the veteran pitchers bring that you can learn from that aren't always pitching-related. For me, the biggest lessons I take from these guys is how they handle themselves off the field.
I would certainly like to play in San Diego for a long time like Trevor, but I really just want to be fortunate to play a long time in the Majors. I'd prefer not to be well-traveled, though. I like my role right now. I like what I do. I'm not looking to become a closer right now or anything high-profile.
Obviously, I'll do whatever they ask of me. But when I look at myself in the mirror, I don't think I'm cutting myself short by thinking I'm best-suited to what I'm doing now. I really enjoy what I do for this team right now and I hope to do it for a long time.
Cla Meredith was drafted in the seventh round in 2004 by the Red Sox following his junior year at Virginia Commonwealth University and made his first appearance in the Majors with the Red Sox the following spring. In May 2006, he was traded to the Padres, along with Josh Bard, in exchange for catcher Doug Mirabelli. Meredith had an outstanding rookie season, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.07 ERA and 37 strikeouts and just six walks over 50 2/3 innings.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.