Jason Mackintosh: Respecting the Game

Jason Mackintosh (Photo/Inland Empire 66ers)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Jason Mackintosh has learned to not take things for granted. Mackintosh, a native of South Weber, Utah, has learned that having a healthy body and mindset can make all the difference in the world.

"Every time I get on the mound, it is to win," said the right-hander. "The thought of losing is not in my mind. Every time I step onto the mound, I know I am prepared to win."

Mackintosh, talking via telephone, continued, "I do not think I should give up a run. When I do, I get frustrated. But, you have to wipe the slate clean when you do and start over again. You have to battle for everything."

Mackintosh, who is 6-8 with a 4.01 ERA, has learned that pure talent can talent can only take a player so far. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1999 but did not turn pro until 2001, when he signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians.

"Going into spring training in 2001, I was not in the right shape," explained Mackintosh. "They had a lot of young guys, a lot of young pitchers were coming in. I had no idea how important it was to be in shape going into spring training."

"I was more in the college mind-set," continued Mackintosh, "of where you start the college season 50 percent ready and you have the rest of the season to get in shape. Going into it, I had no idea how to prepare. You have to be 100 percent going into spring training, where you can earn a job."

The Cleveland Indians signed Mackintosh in August of 2001 then released him in March of 2002.

" I worked for Federal Express for a year and a half," Mackintosh explained. "I worked out with Weber State and pretty much any team I could to stay in shape. I have a guy back home that runs a lot of baseball camps and leagues and I played in those as well."

The left-hander signed a minor-league deal with the Seattle Mariners in February of 2004. Mackintosh spoke about the daily training regimen that has helped him and the rest of the pitching staff improve over the course of the season.

"I have a routine," said Mackintosh, "where the day after I pitch, I do my running for 30 minutes then go lift weights. The next day, I will throw 40-45 pitches in the bullpen then workout with weights on my legs.

"We'll do a short pen on the third day then some light running. The next day is playing catch from 30 to 40 feet and then maybe a little bit of running. Then after that, I am ready for the next start."

The intense J-Mac has had very few batters figure him out, but does recall one player in particular - a son of a L.A. Dodgers legend - that seems to have had his number this year.

" Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. is one I will try and go in on and he will pull it," said Mackintosh. " I will try and go away from him with something soft but he will hit back up the middle. I am still trying to figure him out but he is one that sticks out in my mind."

The earliest baseball memory of the 25-year-old pitcher is a pretty unique one. " A little league championship game when I was six," laughed Mackintosh. " It was a tie game and I was playing first base. The ball was hit to me and I bobbled it. As the runner from third went home, I actually tagged the guy who was off of first. I tagged the guy too late or something and the runner scored."

Mackintosh has not had much of a problem with base runners this season, with 96 strikeouts and just 39 walks on the year. His ability to find the strike zone, along with his passion, work ethic and never-say-die attitude will help Mackintosh's chances as he moves up through the Mariners' farm system.

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