The Mariners’ trade of Ichiro to the New York Yankees in July resulted in the Rainiers acquiring two pitchers from New York. Right-handed starter D.J. Mitchell was profiled in the Aug. 17 issue. The second pitcher, right-handed reliever Danny Farquhar, is the subject of this week’s interview. Farquhar started his career in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system in 2008. Since then he has been traded or claimed on waivers by the Yankees, Oakland and Seattle. He has been with Toronto, New York and Oakland twice. Through all this packing and unpacking, he and his family (wife and 11-month old daughter) have managed to keep a positive outlook on life as seen through the eyes of a professional baseball player.
Tacoma Weekly baseball correspondent Karen Westeen caught up with Farquhar recently to find out a little bit more about him. (As of Aug. 20 Farquhar’s record with Tacoma is 2-2, with three saves and a 4.66 ERA in 13 games.)
TW: You were born in Miami. Do you still live there?
DF: No. Now we live in Lafayette, La. During the season my wife and daughter travel with me.
TW: What about college?
DF: I attended three years of college at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where I was a finance major.
TW: Do you think you will eventually get your degree?
DF: I want to get back to it but I’m not sure if I will. It’s tough with having a family and playing baseball.
TW: Did you play other sports or positions in high school and college?
DF: I played infield and pitched in Little League and elementary school, and outfield and pitched in high school. I’ve been just a pitcher since college. I ran track and played volleyball in middle school, and ran cross country in high school.
TW: Where were you in 2008 when you were drafted by Toronto?
DF: I was at home, hanging out with my parents. The information came up on the computer.
TW: Did you expect the Blue Jays would draft you?
DF: No. There were a lot of teams that showed interest, but not Toronto.
TW: Have you always been a relief pitcher?
DF: Professionally yes. I made some starts in college, and it didn’t go too well so I went back to the bullpen and that went very well. I did a lot of closing before this year, especially in 2010 and 2011. This year not much.
TW: Talk about the long and winding road you have traveled since you were drafted.
DF: I spent 2008 to 2010 with Toronto (in their lower level farm system,) then I was traded to Oakland at the end of the 2010 Fall League. I had played with the Javelinas (the Mariners’ Fall League team.) My mom called to tell me she had heard about my maybe being traded for Dan Uggla to the Marlins, but that didn’t go through and the next day I got traded to Oakland. I went to spring training with Oakland and was playing with Sacramento in Tacoma when I got traded back to the Blue Jays and was assigned to Las Vegas.
I spent 2011 with Las Vegas. I got called up in to Toronto in September and pitched against Boston, Anaheim and Tampa Bay.
TW: When did you make your Major League debut?
DF: At Fenway on Sept. 13, and it didn’t go very well. (Farquhar pitched to eight batters in two thirds of an inning. He gave up three earned runs on three hits and walked two with no strikeouts. In three Major League games he was 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA.) But the next two outings went very well.
In the spring of 2012 I started with New Hampshire (Toronto’s Double-A affiliate) for two months, then was designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by Oakland. I spent three weeks in Sacramento, and was designated for assignment again while the team was in Las Vegas, and I was claimed off waivers by the Yankees. I was with them for about a day or two, then they took me off the roster and I cleared waivers, pitched in Double-A Trenton for two to three weeks before I was sent up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I was on the road in Gwinnett, Ga., when the Mariners claimed me. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had no home field this year (it is being renovated,) sort of like my season.
TW: Did you know that there was another trade coming up you were probably going to be involved in?
DF: No. The trade was completely done with when we found out. I always knew maybe six to eight hours before the Internet when trades went down. This time I saw it on the Internet and I couldn’t believe it.
TW: Do you have any idea why all these trades have gone down?
DF: I really don’t but the good thing is to be wanted. I can’t control any of it, so I try not to be too concerned. I figure it will look good on my resume that I was traded for Ichiro.
TW: When you got here on July 24 did you know any of the players?
DF: Besides D.J., just from playing against them.
TW: How are you getting along with the new pitching coach Dwight Bernard?
DF: He’s given me a couple of suggestions here and there, just let me do my thing, nothing drastic. I have thrown from seven different arm angles this year. They were pitching coach suggestions, to help me to get back to the Major Leagues. Now I’m being my stubborn self and doing it my way.
TW: What do you consider your out-pitch?
DF: My fastball right now, but I don’t throw very many of them.
TW: You get to watch the batters from the bullpen during the game. Does that help you figure out what pitches you will throw to them?
DF: It’s pretty far down there and every pitcher is different. I throw mostly cutters, and how I go is based on their swings.
TW: Have you spent any time on the disabled list?
DF: In spring training this year I missed an outing or two due to tightness in my right bicep, caused by my arm angle and from my knuckles scraping on the ground, plus carrying my daughter in my right arm. I don’t carry her anymore with my right arm.
TW: What have been the highlights of your career so far?
DF: Getting called up to the Major Leagues last year and getting traded for Ichiro, and sharing these things with my family.
TW: You are only 25 now but have you thought at all about what you would like to do when your pitching career is over?
DF: I don’t know. I’m hoping this baseball thing lasts long enough that I can figure out what I want to do. Besides I’m trying to get to all the teams in the Major Leagues. I’ve only been with four and that means there’s 26 left.
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