Athletics right-hander Shane Komine is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, where he resides in the offseason. He made his big-league debut in 2006 and appeared in two games, holding Toronto to one run over six innings in his first game on July 30. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Sacramento, where he won 11 games. A three-time second-team All-America selection while at Nebraska, Komine is the 32nd Hawaiian-born player to reach the big leagues. He recently joined MLBPLAYERS.com for a question-and-answer session.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You had your parents and fiancee visiting from Hawaii when you made your big-league debut in a game at Oakland. How special was that for you?
Komine: It was great to get the first game under my belt. It was awesome to have them there and to share that day with me. I wish I could have stayed with them a little longer but we had to fly right out afterward.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Being from Hawaii, was that the first Major League game they had seen?
Komine: Yes. That made it that much more special for them. My brother was there, too. It was nice for them to experience me going out there and pitching. It also helped that we won the game.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You did not get credit for the win, but since the game ended with Milton Bradley's walk-off home run, did that make the day that much more memorable for you and your family?
Komine: Definitely. A win, of course, is a win, but it was a great game. We lost a lead, got it back there at the end, and it was great to see.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you follow any Hawaiian-born players in the big leagues while growing up?
Komine: Sid Fernandez and Ron Darling from the Mets. A couple of other guys were Mike Fetters and Jerome Williams. All of these guys, like myself, are pitchers.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You grew up before the Internet became so popular. How did you stay up to speed on these players and others?
Komine: Guys like Sid Fernandez were covered quite a bit in the newspapers back in Hawaii. That was pretty much the bulk of what I saw. I knew that they were in the big leagues and, while I was growing up, I knew that is where I wanted to get to as well.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What type of competition did you face when you were playing baseball in Hawaii?
Komine: The weather there is great year-round so it was good enough to play baseball really all of the time. The competition was not the greatest because everyone there is so laid back. It was treated more like recreation for kids. It was also used by many to help keep kids out of trouble. But there were, obviously, some guys who were good enough to play in college and ultimately reach professional ball.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did you end up at the University of Nebraska?
Komine: I was small coming out of high school. I did not get a lot of offers from colleges, but Nebraska was one of the schools that was persistent. They kept up with me my entire senior year season and it was the best fit for me. I wanted to get away from Hawaii and experience a different climate. There was not a better place for me to do that than at Nebraska.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you enjoy your College World Series experience?
Komine: It was a great feeling because it was the first time in Nebraska history that it happened. We went there back-to-back years and it would have been nice to win a game, but to get there and give our fans something to cheer about was awesome.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Just a year ago, you were recovering from Tommy John surgery. How did that injury threaten your career?
Komine: It is a long process for a pitcher that is not very much fun. It taught me a lot about patience and it made me appreciate the game a lot more. I realized that I could at any moment be out of the game. Every day is a reminder of how blessed I am to come out and pitch again.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did the nickname "Hawaiian Punch-Out" come from?
Komine: Baseball America gave that to me when I was in college.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Is that a drink you even like?
Komine: I do. I grew up on that stuff. When I see it in a restaurant, that is what I order for sure.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.