Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum joined fans for a chat on Thursday. The right-hander answered questions about his pitch selection, what he was doing when he was drafted and his chances of pitching in the All-Star Game this season.
Marcum: Hey everyone. Let's chat.
dastfreadsv: What's your favorite pitch to throw?
Marcum: A strike.
cndnbat: Hi Shaun, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. What was it like to be on the DL last year for the whole season? Was it hard not being able to help out the team? What did you do to keep yourself busy and to get ready for 2010?
Marcum: Yeah, it was a little difficult not being able to help out the team, but I kept busy with family and golf.
jaysace11: Did you have to re-invent the way you pitched from the way you were pre-surgery to the way you've been post-surgery?
jaysgirl29: What is the story (if there is one) behind your jersey number?
Marcum: It was the one that was given to me when I got called up.
hitman8: With so many new and young pieces added to this year's team, has it been hard to find the chemistry in the clubhouse?
Marcum: No. Everyone is young, and a lot of the guys came up together through the Minor League system, and the chemistry is great, and everyone gets along and the clubhouse is a great place to be.
toronto75: There are a lot of young guys on the pitching staff this season. As the ace, do you feel a responsibility to help these guys develop?
Marcum: No, because I don't feel like an ace. I feel just like one of the five pitchers -- and if there is one pitcher on this team that I would call an ace it would be Ricky (Romero).
kingcraw: Shaun, the broadcasters always describe you as fearless on the mound. I have never understood what that meant from a pitcher's perspective. Can you explain?
Marcum: I am not afraid to attack the hitters, go after them. I am not intimidated by any lineup.
pittsteel: Shaun, you guys are much healthier this year. What has the organization done differently this year to avoid the pitfalls of previous years?
Marcum: They haven't really done anything differently. The only thing: Pappy (Bruce Walton) kind of limited us in between bullpen sessions, trying not to throw as much between games.
marcodomus: Hi Shaun, just wanted to start by saying how great it is to see you healthy and pitching again. As a psychology student, I am curious about the mental aspect of recovering from a long-term injury such as the one you suffered. How did you personally manage?
Marcum: I didn't watch a lot of games because I knew that it would drive me crazy. I just focused on getting my arm strong and my golf game.
marcodomus: Hi Shaun. Both you and Dustin McGowan were sidelined for over a year during-and-after the 2008 season. Being as the two of you suffered long-term injuries at the same time, did the two of you develop a special kind of relationship in your hopes for recovery?
Marcum: We've been pretty close since 2005. We get together in the offseason and have a great relationship. When we were down there rehabbing together, we were pushing together to get back, but also pushing each other to be smart so that we wouldn't injure ourselves again.
portiabent: You've done such an amazing job so far this year, how do you feel about not yet having a win under your belt?
Marcum: Most important thing for me is that I'm back and I'm healthy and I'm pitching. The wins will come and it's a long season. The hitters work hard and they can score runs at anytime. We just ran into some great pitchers on the other teams.
dizzle4: Coming from a pitcher's perspective, what are your thoughts on some of the Jays' top pitching prospects like Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart, from what you've seen of them?
Marcum: I saw Kyle throw but I don't think that I've seen Zach yet. Kyle has tremendous stuff. He's learned a lot just from last year coming up and being at Spring Training this year. He's going to develop into one of the front-line starters of this organization for years to come.
cammyk: What was it like being drafted to the big leagues? Do you remember where you were? And what was your reaction?
Marcum: I was in Springfield, Mo. We were preparing for our Super Regionals in college when I got called. I was shocked because I didn't expect to get drafted high.
cammyk: I heard you used to be a shortstop. How did you become a pitcher, and what was it like making the transition?
Marcum: I was a pitcher growing up as well as an infielder. I was a closer in college but I still played at shortstop. The transition then was easy. The only difference was that I wasn't closing, I was starting.
mervymerv: Shaun, Steve Simmons wrote an interesting article in today's Toronto Sun about the lack of attendance at Rogers Centre this season. How does that affect you guys when you're on the field. Does it bother you?
Marcum: I don't think it bothers us. We still have a job to do, and that is to go out there and play baseball. We understand that winning will put fans back in the seats, and that is one of the many goals that we have here.
marcodomus: Shaun, many pitchers tinker with and add pitches as their careers progress. Have you recently added any pitches to your repertoire, and/or do you think about doing so in the future?
Marcum: I haven't added any. I've just started using my two-seam fastball a lot more. I already have five pitches, so it would be hard for the catcher to call more than that since he only has five fingers.
allstard: Who is the hardest batter to pitch against in the league?
Marcum: Nick Markakis.
jess1234: Who was your favorite pitcher growing up?
Marcum: I was 4 years old and I loved watching Brett Saberhagen in the 1985 World Series.
jess1234: On a 1-10 scale, how good would you say your hitting is?
Marcum: In college it was an eight. Now it's probably around a three.
hhustler: Is there anyone on the DL or in the Minors you are really looking forward to joining the rotation or joining the bullpen?
Marcum: I was excited to see Rommie Lewis get an opportunity. I would love to see (Dustin) McGowan and (Jesse) Litsch make it back.
Callum: Is the pain of scar tissue breaking up in your elbow (post-Tommy John) as bad as they say it is?
Marcum: Yes. I had no pain when my UCL tore. My scar tissue tore when I was rehabbing last year. It was some of the worst pain I've ever been in. And I thought that I had torn my UCL again.
jaysgurl25: Other than baseball, what's your favorite sport?
Marcum: Football or golf. Probably football. I'm a season-ticket holder for the Kansas City Chiefs.
hitman8: A lot of golf, eh? What's your handicap?
Marcum: Probably an eight.
jays4keeps_2: Hey Shaun, what is your thought process when dealing with a full count?
Marcum: Depends on the situation and who is hitting.
badgers17: Other than Rogers Centre, do you have a favorite stadium you like to pitch in and why?
Marcum: Anaheim is alright.
dizzle4: How do you deal with your name popping up in trade rumors and speculation? Are you able to ignore all of that, or do you wonder about those things yourself?
Marcum: WHAT?!?!? Am I getting traded??
billybob29: Hey Shaun, I seriously don't mean to jinx you but do you see yourself going to the All-Star Game this year? I think you are definitely one the top guys this year.
Marcum: No, I haven't really thought about it. It's still early and there is still another two months before the All-Star Game.
psyche6: What do you view a successful game for yourself in terms of hits, walks, strikeouts and innings pitched?
Marcum: Hits, walks, strikeouts, doesn't really matter too much. It's about innings and runs. Obviously I'd like to go out and throw nine innings every time and shut everyone out, but for me it's more important to hand the ball over to the bullpen with the lead after getting 21 outs.
hitman8: How much did Roy Halladay help with your development as a pitcher and what was your reaction to him being traded?
Marcum: I learned a lot from him. Especially the way he attacks the hitters. The way he competes. His work ethic. There is nobody better than him. I was a little surprised, but not too much, that he got traded. I just wanted to know what we got back in return.
dizzle4: Shaun -- you've had quite a number of outings where you manage to take no-hitters late into the game. What's the feeling like when one slips away?
Marcum: Half the time I don't realize that it is happening.
sofbolista: What's on your iPod? Any particular music that gets you ready before a game?
Marcum: I have a little mix of music. I start off with "I'm on a Boat," and then "All of the Above," rap songs. Then it goes into "Fat Bottom Girls." And then after that, it's pretty much Metallica, Disturbed, Van Halen and Rage Against the Machine.
rzepski: Do you have any pregame rituals?
Marcum: No, I don't really have any.
dastfreadsv: What would you be doing if you weren't playing professional baseball?
Marcum: I'd probably still be in school to get my degree since I left school early for baseball. But if I wasn't in school then I'd probably be coaching baseball or wrestling somewhere.
Tdot_Jay: Hey Shaun, do you think you pitch better at home or away?
Marcum: Probably home.
hitman8: If you had to choose between being able to have outstanding location or 98-mph velocity ... which would you choose? You can't say both.
Marcum: I already have the location so I know what that is like. It would be nice to see what it's like to throw 98. You have a lot more room for error.
crawford96: What was the best game you ever pitched in the big leagues? What was it like?
Marcum: A complete game would be my best one but I don't have one yet. There was a game I pitched in Chicago in '07 where I went eight innings, one run ... that was pretty good.
dastfreadsv: As a fellow pitcher, what do you think is affecting Scott Downs, Jeremy Accardo and Jason Frasor this year? They all used to be a closer at one point, but are not having a good year so far.
Marcum: Everyone struggles at some point. The season is still early and I expect that they will be back to form soon.
ricflair1: Are you aware that your nickname on some blogs is "North of Steeles"? We love you in Toronto!
Marcum: No, I never heard it ... not 100 percent sure what it means -- hopefully good???
jaggedice9: Hi Shaun! Despite the busy regular season, do you get a chance to enjoy the city of Toronto?
Marcum: Yeah. The Toronto area is nice and we get to get out and do some sightseeing.
Marcum: Alright everyone ... Oakland is in town and I have to go look at some of the film. I pitch on Sunday. See you there!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.