[Editor's Note: Matt Conner is an Assignment Editor with SB Nation who happens to be a huge Royals fan. He was able to land an interview with Royals pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer and was gracious enough to share it with us.]
Kyle Zimmer admits it's easier said than done.
Waiting on his big league debut, the Kansas City Royals prospect is currently in a holding pattern with the Idaho Falls Chukars. He arrived at the team's advanced rookie affiliate earlier this month to begin what he hopes is a short rehab stint, putting in bursts of work intended to recalibrate his mechanics and timing after missing the entire season due to injury.
Even as he says and does all the right things, Zimmer can only laugh and say "absolutely" when asked if it's easier said than done when it comes to staying patient for his shot at the Majors.
"Obviously that would be awesome, but I can't allow myself to think about that right now," said Zimmer. "I'm just focused on taking it one day at a time. Whatever happens, happens. It's out of my control. I'm trying to focus on the controllables and do what I can to right now help the [Idaho Falls] Chukars. If it so happens that I'm on another team, then I want to help that team. Just wherever I am doing whatever I am that day, I just want to be in the present moment."
Zimmer says he's feeling "great" at this point after missing the last few months with a strained lat. Forced to rest for a couple months, Zimmer is now back albeit at a limited capacity for Idaho Falls. Zimmer says it's just about finding his timing and mechanics once again.
"It feels great getting back onto the mound and into competition," said Zimmer. "It's a weird feeling for those first couple outings. Physically, after taking that much time off of being in games, you gotta get back into the swing of things with mechanics and timing. Mentally, getting back out there, you're a little anxious to get back in the games and competition. You've got the adrenaline going. But it also feels good to get out there competing again.
"Each time I'm on the mound, I'm working on different things. I'm working on my timing, my balance, stuff like that."
Zimmer throws four pitches: fastball, curve, slider, changeup. He says all four are feeling good right now, but he's still working out his command in short stints with the Chukars, as illustrated by two innings pitched in three games.
"Most of my mechanics are on time. All four of my pitches, I can command them all pretty well. Obviously, I'm working off of my fastball. Fastball command is going to be key for me going forward, and that's been feeling good."
While Zimmer could conceivably join the Royals when rosters expand on September 1, his primary concern is about being healthy for the long-term and doing what he can to secure a spot in the team's starting rotation in spring training next year.
"I know whatever happens here in the next few weeks or month or so is what happens," he said. "Looking forward to the fall, I'm looking at maybe throwing in the Arizona Fall League and possibly to the Dominican to play some winter ball. My goal really is to go into next spring training ready and healthy to compete for a job."
To make the jump to Kansas City would be a childhood dream come true for Zimmer, whose brother Bradley was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
"My brother and I were hitting baseballs off of a tee in our backyard as soon as we could walk and hold a bat," said Zimmer. "For as long as I can remember, it has always been my dream and my brother's as well. We're both living it out right now and hopefully we'll be able to face off in the majors at some point in the near future."
For now, Zimmer says he's simply focused on what he can control, and that's the best thing since he's certainly going to need some time to round into form. That said, even in a limited capacity, the Royals' pitching prospect could provide a nice boost out of the pen for even a bit of the stretch run.
It would also make a player's dream come true.