PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates relief pitcher John Holdzkom joined The Fan Morning Show on Friday after having an impressive major league debut earlier this week.

He explained how he came to throw his signature palmball.

“Honestly, it was just the very first offspeed pitch I threw when I was like 13,” Holdzkom said. “I just was fiddling around with grips. It just felt comfortable in there. I never really had a feel for a good breaking ball.”

He explained that being picked up by the Pirates’ organization while pitching for the American Association’s Amarillo Sox in July was a pleasant surprise.

“It came completely out of the blue,” Holdzkom said. “I was pitching a game in Sioux Falls, SD, actually, when a Pirates scout came up to me after the game and said, ‘hey, saw you pitch, liked what I saw.’ The ball started rolling and like three days later, I signed with them, and I was in AA.”

He said that there’s a certain charm to playing in an independent league.

“It’s a lot of fun because there’s no moving up or down, there’s no people watching you from the front office or whatnot, because it’s just a bunch of guys with nothing to do for the summer hanging out playing baseball, so it’s really laid back,” Holdzkom said. “It’s obviously not where you want to be, but it’s pretty enjoyable

He explained that, even though there’s a difference in stage between what he was doing earlier this year and what he’s doing now, it’s all just baseball.

“Obviously there’s more pressure if you let it into your mind, being in a bigger stadium in the big leagues,” Holdzkom said. “You just try to block it all out and tell yourself it’s just the same thing, I’m going to stand on the mound, throw it down to the catcher, and see what happens.”

Josh Miller was very curious if his recently-listed 6-foot-7-inches height was accurate, and Holdzkom offered a clarification.

“I’m 6’9″ right on the money,” Holdzkom said.

The interview can be heard here:

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