It used to be a pretty common occurrence, and sometimes it would almost make you cringe.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee would start answering questions, and just as any other pitcher's name would come up, there was Kyle Kendrick's.
Dubee's body language changed. His tone of voice was different. The man was hard on Kendrick.
"I've heard of things he said about me in the media in the past, and at the time I thought he was taking digs," Kendrick told The Morning Call recently in a phone interview. "But at the time, he was right. I had to get better. I only had one pitch and I had to learn how to pitch.
"Looking back now, it was tough love and he was trying to pull for me."
These days, Dubee sings Kendrick's praises. So, too, does manager Charlie Manuel. Gone are the criticisms of Kendrick's pitch repertoire - that's because he throws four pitches now instead of relying solely on his sinker and fastball - and in place of the disapproval is a confidence in Kendrick that he has worked so hard to achieve.
In fact, there's so much stock being put in Kendrick that he has his own month on the Phillies 2013 calendar. The right-hander's picture appears with the month of January. The last four years Kendrick has been missing from the calendar.
The Washington native was unaware of the photo until he got a group text from his four brothers-in-law who shared the news with him a couple weeks ago. Neither Kendrick nor his wife ran out to buy a calendar, but Kendrick knows that having your own picture means something.
"I've had a different role the last couple years," said Kendrick, who flip-flopped between long relief, starting and being a spot starter. "Now hopefully I'm starting full-time and they expect more innings out of me. I definitely feel comfortable with how I'm pitching and how I've grown. I know I can start."
Perhaps the biggest ringing endorsement in making Kendrick a fixture in the rotation came in the second half of the season when it was evident he could bounce back with a solid start after a rough outing.
After allowing six runs (all earned) in just 3 1/3 innings against the Braves on Aug. 8 - a 12-6 Phillies loss - Kendrick then had back-to-back scoreless outings (7 innings on Aug. 14 and 8 more on Aug. 19). By the time Oct. 1 rolled around, he had posted a 2.43 ERA in final 10 starts. He struck out 48, walked only 11 and had a batting average against of .206 in those 63 innings pitched from Aug. 14 to Oct. 1.
The culprit for that loss on Aug. 8 was the same as many of the other games he had issues in during the first half of 2012. That day he threw too many cutters - 31 to be exact - which meant cutters accounted for 40.3 percent of his pitches that day. And up to that point in the season, he was throwing it 30 percent of the time.
"I started having lot of success with the cutter in 2011 and I kind of fell in love with it," Kendrick said. "It was really good but I started throwing it too much and got away from my change-up and my sinker."
Kendrick spent as much time during his next bullpen session working on his change-up and his sinker as he did talking to Dubee about the adjustments he needed to make.
It finally started to sink in and Kendrick changed his ways. In his last 10 starts combined, he threw cutters just 15.6 percent of the time.
"I'm not a power pitcher," Kendrick said. "The way Dubee explained it was my sinker and my change-up are my salad and my cutter and slider are like the salt and pepper. I hadn't figured out what kind of pitcher I was until then. From then on, I threw five to seven cutters a game. That's how it's supposed to be."
The old Kendrick would have panicked after getting shelled. He would have hung his head in the following days, tried too hard in his next outing and stumbled after things started to go south ever so slightly.
The new Kendrick is a refreshing sight for Manuel.
"If he has a game where he's not so good or he has some trouble or something, he's got his head on right," Manuel said late last season. "He comes right back out and keeps pitching. That's the good thing about him."
A lot of people have helped Kendrick get stronger mentally, including Dubee and his tough love, Roy Halladay and his work ethic and catcher Brian Schneider, who clicked with him from the very beginning and encouraged him in just the right way.
"The growth I see is a lot through Doc, but you have to give lot credit to KK," Schneider said. "When it comes to pitching, he's always trying to learn and find answers and ask questions. You have to be a man yourself to convince yourself you can go in a different direction. You can see it's paid off."
Schneider's hoping for his friend's sake that the fans can see that it's all paid off, too.
In the past, it hasn't mattered if Kendrick had four very good outings. The moment opposing hitters started to get to him, they let him have it. Leading up to his Aug. 8 start, Kendrick had a 0.95 ERA in 19 innings. Mixed in there were seven scoreless innings (a start on July 6) and seven scoreless relief appearances.
But fans soured quickly and cheered Manuel as he walked onto the field to pull Kendrick in the fourth inning on Aug. 8.
"Philly is an intense place to play and it's the best place to play, but it comes with some hardships," Schneider said. "He got booed a lot and it gets to every player after a while and it becomes, 'How are you going to grow from that?' If he had a bad outing he sucked it up and learned from it and a lot of guys can't do that. No doubt people have been hard on him. He's a changed man now and he knows how to deal with it."
Will he know how to deal with that calendar, though?
"When July and August come around, he won't have it turned to those months," Schneider said jokingly. "I have a feeling it will be turned to January all year."