Q&A with New Twins Closer Matt Capps


Matt Capps is in a tough spot. After spending 5 ½ years pitching for National League bottom feeders Pittsburgh and Washington, the closer finds himself on a new team in a new league in the middle of a pennant race performing a high pressure job.

Although he’s been a little shaky in his early action with the Twins, Capps did pitch a perfect 9th in a non-save situation Sunday. Let’s hope that’s a sign of things to come. The soon-to-be 27-year-old chatted with me during the White Sox series last week.

DZ: You’ve been here just about three weeks, what’s it been like so far for you?

CAPPS: It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a good clubhouse team, it’s a great team on the field. Obviously, the way we’ve been playing, it’s been a lot of fun to be a part of - the way the guys have treated me, the atmosphere and environment has made it all a whole lot of fun.

DZ: Where were you when you found out about the trade?

CAPPS: I was at dinner with my wife and her family. We were in Washington, out having dinner and I got a phone call. They told me I had just been traded so I asked for the check real quick, went home and started packing.

DZ: Were you surprised?

CAPPS: Yes and no. I had heard a lot of rumors, but I hadn’t heard a whole lot about Minnesota, so when they told me I was coming to the Twins, there was a little bit of shock there because I really didn’t know that there was interest on their side. But on the same hand, with the quality of the organization and everything I had always heard about the organization, it turned into a lot of excitement real early. After getting here, it’s just reinforced what I’ve always heard my whole career - a quality organization, people top-to-bottom. It’s been fun to be here and hopefully I can help this team - contribute - get where we want to go.

DZ: Everybody focuses on what you guys do on the field, but what’s it like from a personal basis getting traded?

CAPPS: It can be tough, a lot of responsibilities and things fall back on my family. My wife stepped up and did a phenomenal job with getting things packed and ready to go, making sure I was where I needed to be and (I) didn’t have to worry about all of the details of the move and everything else involved. That’s something that is overlooked a lot - we have a responsibility to get where we need to go quickly, but there are a lot of other loose ends that need to be tied and that falls back on my family. Like I said, my wife Jennifer did a phenomenal job getting everything ready.

DZ: Spending the majority of your career in Pittsburgh and then a little bit in Washington, you hadn’t been in pennant race before. Now you find yourself right in the middle of one, how does that feel?

CAPPS: It’s been fun. The intensity that everybody plays with has been fun to see. At this point of the year, it feels like the opening week of the season everyday. The intensity and the fight the guys have - to have that here this late in the season - has been refreshing. It’s been a lot of fun for me.

DZ: Were you surprised that at the end of last year that you were let go by Pittsburgh? Did you plan on being back there?

CAPPS: They told me I would be back, so when it didn’t happen there was some shock there, but that’s part of the game. I understand the business side of it and they felt like it was in there best interest for me not to be back. I respect that decision they had to make as an organization and moving forward, I wish them all the best.

DZ: You made your first All Star game this year, what was that like?

CAPPS: It was a blast. We went out there, my family - my mom, my brother - got to go, my wife’s family - her parents - got to go. We went out there, had a great time, they put on a great show out there and everything was ran first class all the way through. We just went out, tried to enjoy ourselves and fortunately, that (bullpen) phone rang and I got to get into the ball game.

DZ: One last thing, being in Washington you were right in the middle of all of the (Stephen) Strasburg mania. Here in an American League city, we don’t really get much of a chance to see him at all, so what can you tell us about him?

CAPPS: (He has) electric stuff. Everything you hear about him is true - the fastball, the curveball, the command and the poise. I thought the most impressive thing about the guy was the way he handled everything - all the attention and all the media surrounding him and what he does on the field. The type of person and the character of the guy was the most impressive thing. To be 21-years-old, the way he handled it and went about his business was a lot of fun to be a part of and it was fun to be his teammate even if it was for a short period of time. The guy is going to have a very successful and long career I believe. The way he conducts himself, I am pulling for him.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Twins players:

August 19: Brian Duensing
July 29: Jesse Crain
July 23: Ron Mahay
July 21: Danny Valencia
July 11: Michael Cuddyer
July 8: Jason Repko
July 5: Nick Punto
June 12: Jason Kubel
June 9: Drew Butera
May 11: Denard Span
April 25: Justin Morneau
April 22: Alex Burnett
April 21: Mike Redmond
April 16: J.J. Hardy

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