Only in his third full season of minor league baseball, 5-foot-9 left handed relief pitcher Zac Curtis has pitched in the Big Leagues a few times. Drafted in the sixth round in 2014 out of Middle Tennessee State by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Curtis was obtained by the Mariners in a trade last November with the Diamondbacks. Arizona called him up twice, and the Mariners brought him up two times this season in May and June.
What was it like to be called up?
It was amazing and is everything everybody talks about. Because of my experience last year, it was a little bit easier. My stomach still turns, and I get the butterflies and nervous energy.
Is it different?
It’s a mind thing with bigger stadiums and the crowds are much bigger. Once you get on the mound and pitch, it’s the same 60 feet to home plate. I just want to throw well and focus on the game.
Are you surprised you’ve been up a few times?
Last year, it was really a surprise because I went from Single-A to the Big Leagues and didn’t know what to expect. This year, I was shocked but not surprised.
What’s it like to go up and then come back down to the minors?
It’s slower when you come back down. The crowds are smaller, too. I think coming back down, and the game being slower gives me a chance to learn. I’m always happy playing ball.
What is your favorite pitch?
What is your best pitch?
My fastball, but my teammates like my slider. Because I’m a smaller guy, the ball stays up and doesn’t sink.
Do you have any superstitions?
I dress the same way and wear the same socks, compression shorts and shirt. I drink a Red Bull and Gatorade before the game and throw the same pitches in warm up.
Have you always played baseball?
My dad got me into baseball at a younger age, and I’ve always had a good arm. As a freshman in Florida, I was cut from the team. We moved to Tennessee, and I play there and went to junior college. I knew I had to get my degree in case baseball didn’t happen to take care of my family. Once I focused on those two things, baseball just came
Did you get your degree?
I did and got a B.S. in animal science. Growing up on a farm, I loved working with animals. In the future, I want to be in the game and could see me teaching animal science in high school and coaching baseball.
Do your wife Chelsea and son Greyson (who will be four Aug. 19) stay with you here?
We built a home back in Tennessee, and they stay there during the season. We live about four and a half hours from here so they come to Little Rock when we have a long home stretch.
What do you in the off season?
I like to golf and fish and hang out with my family. I hunt for deer and try to golf 4-5 days, and Greyson has his own clubs.