Brett Myers spoke to reporters after tonight's start for triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Here's just some of what he had to say, courtesy of Phil Sheridan:
On the start: "I was throwing my split. I couldn't throw that for strikes too much, get guys to swing at it. I threw the curveball for strikeouts. Definitely some improvement. My velocity was better. ... I had fun tonight. I had fun being around (Rod) Nichols and some of the guys in a relaxed atmosphere. I'm trying to get that swagger back."
On Lehigh Valley pitching coach Rod Nichols: "When I was a young kid, he helped me out. I confided in him. He could find the smallest little thing that nobody would think about. (Rich) Dubee's a great pitching coach, but when people know you better than other people, it's a little easier for them to find certain things. It's a little easier for him to find things because he thinks we're the same person, which I hope not."
On his decision to agree to the minor-league assignment: "Obviously I wasn't helping the team going out there those five innings, giving up five or six runs every time, with all those home runs late in games hurting me. I didn't have an idea why the ball was up in the zone. I couldn't feel it. In the past, I could feel why it was that way. Now I can't, so I needed a break to talk to somebody without the pressure, who could guide me in the right direction."
On his breaking point: "Texas. I was getting kicked when I was down. It was tough for me, mentally and physically. I was going out there giving everything that I had and I wasn't getting results for it. I was working hard for the four days before I pitched and still wasn't getting results. It felt like I was getting stomped on, and I basically was. It was tough for me. I've struggled before, but it's never been this bad."
On his offseason approach: "I would have tried to review how it was when I was a starter. I had plans every time I went out there. I was recognizing swings with hitters and stuff like that. Even tonight, I wasn't recognizing stuff. I was getting by on stuff alone. In the past, when I was doing well as a starter, I could see pretty much everything that was going on. I think maybe going in the bullpen last year took that away from me, because I didn't have to watch what was going on with hitters. I was just like, `Here's my stuff, hit it.' As a starter, you have prepare and recognize things like swing paths. I didn't really prepare for it. I thought I was going to get by on ability, and I'm not."
His message to teammates in Atlanta: "I'll be back soon. I'll get it right. We'll finish the second half, hopefully, 10 games ahead of everybody and we'll have some fun."
On how hard to do this when he wants to be in the bullpen: "Sometimes. It's where I need to be right now that matters. I can't predict the future. I saw something in print the other day where (John) Smoltz was 1-11 the first half and in the second half, he went 12-2. So who knows?"
On the short amount of time to get his head right: "My head's fine. It feels good right now, after pitching tonight. I just need to get the fun back in the game. I had it taken away from me because I was getting beat up so much. Sometimes it just clicks. I had a pretty bad year in '04. Then in '05, I discovered the cutter and it just clicked."
On getting that swagger back: "I feel like I did tonight, a little bit. I was having fun out there, trying to be cocky."
Carlos Carrasco was scratched from tonight's start for double-A Reading because of tightness in his right shoulder. They said they scratched him as a precaution.
We'll keep you posted on that.
Read more about Myers from Sheridan and Jim Salisbury in Thursday's Inquirer.