Atlanta Braves catcher Gerald Laird has played very well this season in limited action. He has caught the majority of Julio Teheran‘s starts in 2013 and his experience has helped the young Braves fireballer immensely.
Laird won a World Series ring playing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and played in the 2012 World Series with the Detroit Tigers. The Braves are hoping his championship experience pays dividends as they seek to advance deep into the playoffs this season, and hopefully win it all.
Q&A With Gerald Laird:
Q. You’ve caught and seen great pitchers. They all seem to have multiple pitches and bring their arsenal every game. Is that what Teheran is doing now?
Gerald Laird: That is exactly what they do, they come out and bring it every time. To be successful in the big leagues you have to have two pitches, three pitches an outing. You can’t just go out there with one pitch or just two pitches.
This kid (Teheran) is putting it all together and becoming a complete package. He’s trying new things with his change-up, he’s doing things with his curveball, he’s got the slider now that has gotten better every outing and his fastball has always been his best pitch and then he has a two-seamer to go with it.
So he’s definitely getting the repertoire together to be really good. He’s got four pitches that I’m not afraid to call at any time. He’s showing me that he can make pitches in tough spots, so I’m not afraid to call his slider right now and he continues to make pitches.
Q. You have played very well in the limited time you have played this season. How are you able to stay ready?
Gerald Laird: I just enjoy playing and having a good time and being out there with the guys. Anytime you can do anything and contribute positively it feels good.
Q. Your speed is surprising and you are very aggressive on the bases. What is your approach?
Gerald Laird: Yeah, I’m a little aggressive. I wouldn’t say I’m fast, but I’m fast for a catcher or a little faster than catchers. I just go out there and have fun and whatever I can do to take the extra base and whatever I can do to help the team win.
Q. You have been on some very good teams in your career and have won a World Championship. How does this Braves team compare?
Gerald Laird: This is probably one of the better teams that I have been on. Detroit last year, we were a power team and we relied on some big three run homers from Miguel (Cabrera) and Prince (Fielder) and the power pitching.
The year before we ran some luck in St. Louis and had a lot of scrappy players and just got it done with some good pitching. This year it seems like this team has great pitching and we can win in so many different ways. We have so many guys in the line-up that can win it with a home run.
But we also have guys with speed that can steal a base and if we have to play small ball we can win that way, so this team is very athletic and it is probably one of the most athletic teams that I have been on. Just because we can beat you in so many ways and it is just fun to be around and so who is next to carry us for a day.