Before we get to what happened Wednesday in York’s first exhibition game of the year against visiting Southern Maryland, just wanted to point out a few newsworthy items.
–The Atlantic League is aiming to speed up games this year by implementing new pace-of-game rules. Check out that article by clicking here and check out reaction from Revs manager Mark Mason and his players, plus thoughts from Atlantic League executive director Joe Klein and chairman Peter Kirk, by clicking here.
–York signed infielder Andy Gonzalez, a 31-year-old former big leaguer, on Wednesday. Click here to check out that story. Gonzalez was in York’s clubhouse following Wednesday’s exhibition and Mason said he intends to start Gonzalez at short stop in Thursday’s exhibition at Somerset.
–Former Revs reliever Matt DeSalvo told me he’s “retired” but is leaving the door open to returning to York this season. Mason also isn’t ruling out bringing DeSalvo back. Click here to check out that full story.
Spring training: In its first exhibition game of the year, York defeated Southern Maryland, 10-4, on Wednesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium. At the plate, Tyler Graham, Eric Patterson, Jeff Fiorentino and Jason Repko had big days. Graham went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and a walk. Patterson went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, RBI single, two runs scored and a walk. Fiorentino went 2-for-5 with an RBI double – he also had a laser hit right at the first baseman for it’s worth. Repko was a double shy of hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer, a triple and two runs scored. Brian Burgamy also had a solo homer.
“Offensively I thought we were really good,” Mason said. “We ran the bases well. We were aggressive. I told the guys we weren’t going to steal bases today even though Wilson Batista wanted to run (Batista stole a base mid-way through the game). But I told them I didn’t want them to steal bases today because we don’t have our legs under us yet and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. Overall the outs were hard. Defensively we played pretty good.”
On the mound for York on Wednesday was starting pitcher Chris Cody followed by starting pitcher Nick Schumacher and relievers Joe Torres, Stephen Penney, Yunior Novoa and Mike Wuertz.
Cody had a rough 30-pitch first inning that seemed to get out of control after he walked the second batter of the game with one out. He then gave up back-to-back singles before getting the next two batters to ground out. The left-hander ended up going three innings, tagged with three runs (two earned) on four hits, two strikeouts and one walk.
“The arm feels great,” Cody said afterwards. “A 30-pitch inning will get you a little winded no matter what time of year it is. I felt like the pitches ended up where I wanted them to be. For the most part they (batters) just did a good job of fighting off what I thought to be quality pitches. I thought I did a good job of getting ahead of a lot of hitters today. (York pitching coach) John (Halama) said it was 13 out of 16 first-pitch strikes, which is something I always strive to do. Obviously now the thing is to figure out how to put them (hitters) away once the count is in your favor.”
Schumacher went two innings, allowing one earned run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. He also had a tough go of things in his first frame, allowing a solo homer to Cyle Hankerd, then getting the next two outs before allowing a single and a walk until he worked out of trouble with a strikeout.
“Nick and Chris had really shaky first innings,” Mason said. “Chris’ first inning got set up when he walked the two-hole hitter, maybe a couple pitch selections maybe he should’ve went after him a little bit more. In Nick, this is the first time you’re seeing live hitters and you’re trying to do too much. The second inning he scaled himself back. I was pleased with the pitching. We can definitely get better but I thought it was OK.”
Torres, Penney, Novoa and Wuertz each threw a scoreless inning. The most notable performances of that bunch were Penney and Wuertz. Using his trademark slider, Wuertz was getting batters to swing at pitches down in the dirt. Revs pitching coach John Halama said he has been really impressed with Wuertz thus far.
As for Penney, the right-hander was throwing in the low 90s, at least according to the radar gun being held up by Revs baseball operations manager Andrew Ball. That’s a good sign for Penney, who only reached the high 80s last season. Halama is also really on high on Penney, a former Seattle Mariners prospect who went 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 60 games last year for York.
Chatting with the 6-foot, 7-inch Penney afterwards, he credits his improvement to an off-season workout program that requires him to grip a weighted ball in his hand while he goes through various arm motions – I got to see him in action doing the drills following Tuesday’s practice and while they don’t look physically demanding, I can see how they build up stamina in the arm muscles. It’s the first time he did such a workout program. In previous years as a Mariners prospect, he followed the routines laid out for pitchers in the Seattle farm system.
“I did a velocity program,” he said. “It’s weighted balls. There are weighted balls where it just builds up your muscles. There’s a whole science behind it.”
Penney, 26, said he worked out in front of a handful of pro scouts in December out in San Diego, where he lives during the off-season.
“It’s completely different.” “I didn’t do it so much other off-seasons because I was so beat up. But this off-season I felt great. I didn’t take off any time.”
Liriano: Reliever Pedro Liriano still isn’t in camp yet as the team is dealing with visa issues with the Dominican Republic native.
Thursday: York will travel to Somerset on Thursday for an exhibition game.Read More