On how/when he heard about the trade:
"The winter meetings being here in Nashville where I live, I heard some rumors about Dan Haren and some of our other pitchers. I had no idea that I would be involved in a trade. It came as a complete shock when I got the call."
On the Oakland Athletics' developmental philosophies:
"One thing I always liked about the A's development is that they weren't focused a lot on velocity. Velocity's important, but not the main factor, and that really helped me out. Instead of thinking about my power and my throwing the ball, [we emphasized] location, change of speed. One thing that really helped out is I had some really good pitching coaches that helped me along the way."
On two injuries he suffered last season:
"A ball came back at me and hit me in the thumb, broke the tip of my thumb, and I missed two months... it was tough to really get back in the groove."
"Late in the year, I was just jogging one day, or running, and something felt weird in my calf. It just never would get better. I was having trouble pushing off with my left calf. There was only a week left in the season, or two weeks, so they just shut me down for the rest of the year.
On being the closer vs. being a setup guy:
"I like both, but I really like the setup position, because I can get two innings-plus sometimes in a game... Closing, I think there's a little more intensity, and you've really just got to pound the strike zone; really get after them with your good stuff. You're never thinking [that you would] need to pitch around anybody. I kind of like both roles, but either one's fine for me. But middle relief, I think that's a fun part of the game. Especially if you can help get your starter out of a jam, or help another pitcher get out of a jam. That's just a great feeling."
"Being a reliever, you're not in the spotlight that much... it's kind of like the offensive line of baseball."
Conor also spoke with us extensively about his repertoire: what he throws, how he uses it, and what he's working on. Premium FutureBacks.com members can access the full seven-minute audio interview: Listen to Audio
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