I spoke with Val Pascucci before yesterday’s double-header. Obviously.
Ted Berg: So when did you find out you were coming up?
Val Pascucci: After our last game in Scranton, we finished the game there and Tim Teufel called me into his office to basically thank me for having a great season and everything I did over there. Then he said, “And it’s not over yet, they’re calling you up to the Mets. Keep it going over there.”
TB: What’s going through your head when you hear that?
VP: Well people were kind of whispering about it throughout the week. After Sept. 1 when they called [Josh] Satin up, people were saying there’d be more moves after the season ended. So I was looking forward to that, hoping to be one of them or at least be in the talk. When I finally found out, it was just great. I think it was a seven year absence since Montreal. I was just excited to get everything together and get up here.
TB: What do you remember from your last time in the Majors?
VP: The last time, I got to play against the Mets in the last game ever as a Montreal Expo. We finished in Shea, so that was something I always remember. I had a good day that last game against Tom Glavine. I think I went 3-for-4 or something, so that was a good day for me. But just being there – that was my first time up, and I got to go up and down a couple of times that year.
TB: And then after that season you went to Japan?
VP: I went to spend ’05 and ’06 over there, with Bobby Valentine’s team. We actually went to the World Series in ’05.
TB: How’d you come to that decision?
VP: Well, the season ended and I was actually still on the roster, but I got a couple of random phone calls from international agents saying Japanese teams were interested in me going over there. And then once I found out I told my agent about it, and he looked into it to see who it was and one of the teams was Bobby Valentine’s team. I went and met with him in New York. He told me all about it and I said, ‘Why not? Let’s do it.”
TB Was it about the money, or just the opportunity?
VP: It was just to get a chance to play every day. Bobby had seen my numbers and said, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t had more of a shot in the big leagues with all the numbers you put up for Montreal. I want to give you a chance to play every day, and if you come to Japan you’ll have that chance -– you’ll be playing right field for me every day.” I was excited about it, and the Expos were switching over to the Nationals and they had a new GM coming in -– [Jim] Bowden. My agent asked him what the plans were for me and he didn’t really have an answer, so it seemed like a good choice to have a chance to play every day, and it happened to be in Japan.
TB: You mention the numbers — and we’ve talked about this before — but do you ever look at them at scratch your head a little bit about why you haven’t had more shots?
VP: Like I said before, all I can do is go out and put up the numbers and hope somebody takes notice. I had another good year of doing all that, and I got a nice reward from the Mets for it. So I guess the perseverance pays off in this case.
TB: You joined the team in Florida, I know — What’s it like being back in a big-league clubhouse?
VP: It was nice. I walked in and it was like I knew everybody already –- it’s not like walking in somewhere where you don’t know anybody. I played with a lot of these guys in the Minor Leagues, and then, being in big-league camp got to play a few days. It was nice. I got in and it was a warm welcome; people were excited to see me. They knew some of the numbers I had put up already, so they were happy for me to be here.
TB: I assume some of these guys picked your brain a bit about pitchers in Triple-A. Is there a sort of role reversal now that a few of them have been up a while and you’re just joining the team?
VP: A little bit, yeah. There are a lot of guys who have faced guys who have been here that I haven’t seen in a while. They have the videos here and everything, and I’ll see ‘em and be like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember facing this guy three years ago.’ But he’s here now and if I haven’t seen him in a while, I’ll talk to someone. [Nick] Evans and I were looking at the starting pitcher yesterday — I faced him a couple years ago. Stuff like that — guys who have been around, I ask them what they’ve seen from different people.
TB: Has Terry Collins or anyone said anything to you about what to expect in terms of playing time?
VP: Not really. There are a lot of guys here, guys who have been here and pinch-hit and have that role. I’m ready to go whenever they need me. If I get in the starting lineup that’s great, if they call on me to pinch hit, I’ll be ready to go.