Brad Salmon has been one of the more pleasant surprises for the Louisville Bats the past two seasons. The 26-year-old right-hander has developed into a solid middle reliever after a few nondescript minor league seasons. The Pensacola, Fla., native and Daphne, Ala., resident recently took time to face an interrogation for Morning Briefing:
1. Can you tell us about growing up in Pensacola?
Answer: We lived kind of out in the country. Our high school was called the Aggies, and we had cows on campus. It was not too small but not too huge, which was nice. We lived about 10 minutes from the ocean, and in the summertime all we did was go to the beach.
2. What do your parents do?
A: My dad is a UPS driver. He's been there for 26 or 27 years. My mom is a secretary for the union at BellSouth. They both have good hours, so they could watch all my games growing up.
3. Your pitching seems to have gone to another level the past two years. What's the key to that improvement?
A: I think it's just growing older and learning more. I worked on a few mechanical type things. My pitching coach and I saw something on video where I was kind of leaning forward on my delivery. We corrected that, and my velocity went up. Plus, I finally got command of my slider, which helped a lot, and I added a splitfinger in 2004. It seemed like everything kind of clicked.
4. The Cincinnati Reds seem high on you, but you haven't gotten much hype as a so-called "prospect." Why do you think that is?
A: I don't know. We've got a lot of good arms around here, but I don't have an answer for that. I just try to go out every day and do the best I can, and hopefully (the Reds) or some other scouts will see me. There's always somebody watching. I'm just trying to get that opportunity.
5. Even though your name is pronounced SAL-mon, do you get a lot of seafood-related jokes?
A: I'm used to it, so it doesn't bother me. Most guys call me Fish.
6. Do you like to eat salmon?
A: Actually, yeah, I do. (Laughs). Wherever we go, it's always on the menu at restaurants. I always get the joke that, "Hey, you're on the menu." But I love fish.
7. What's your best baseball moment?
A: Probably winning the Florida state high school championship in 1998. We were ranked No. 1 in the nation at one point but No. 2 in Florida. There was a team in Miami that everyone likes, and we ended up beating them in the semifinal, so that was cool.
8. You've shuffled between Chattanooga and Louisville the past couple of seasons. Is it tough moving all the time?
A: It's not when you're by yourself and you've only got a little bit of stuff. But my wife, Jennifer, came with me this year. It's nice having her here instead of having a relationship on the phone. I would talk about guys on the team, and she couldn't put a name with a face. Now she knows them and can kind of root for them.
9. What do you like to do away from baseball?
A: I love to hunt and fish. We go up to Auburn, Ala., to hunt deer because they have some big ones there. My wife killed one deer, but she doesn't have the patience for it. But she'll go fishing with me. There's really good fishing where we live. Last October we went out on the bay and caught a bunch of king mackerel. That was pretty neat.
-- Brian Bennett