Wedge looks out for Pryor plus news and notes
By Shannon Drayer
Eric Wedge was very displeased with what he saw from his team in the 8th inning of Friday’s game against the Rangers. Plays not made, a lack of heads upedness and bad pitch selection in his words led to a seven run inning for the Rangers. One participant in that inning he did not come down hard on however was the guy who gave up four of the runs, (with only one earned) Stephen Pryor. When he came out to the hill to pull Pryor after throwing 30 pitches Wedge had an extended conversation with the reliever.
“I want him to understand that you come off the field with your head high,” Wedge answered when I asked what the conversation was about. “You are a young pitcher doing a nice job, you have got great stuff, this isn’t all your fault. You got thrown into the fire tonight, there is a lot of momentum out there for Texas at that point in time but I like the way he competed. He just didn’t give into it. He was fighting all the way to the end. He’s learning every time he goes out there. I just wanted him to remain confident because he is going to be one heck of a relief pitcher sooner than later.”
Pryor said he was battling command issues that inning. He couldn’t get his breaking ball over the plate and is fastball command wasn’t much better.
“I was getting myself in holes. I wasn’t getting ahead of hitters like I wanted to,” he said. “It just shows some days you are not going to have the same stuff you are going to have other days and you have got to find ways to fight and get out of those situations. Mentally, I am capable of getting out of those situations, getting a ground ball or a key strikeout. Last night that didn’t happen for me but you take out of it, you are just trying to learn from it. What adjustments I need to make, maybe focus more on just trying to get ahead with the pitches.”
Pryor has made great strides in his short time with the big team showing that he is more than a guy who can throw hard. He has improved the quality of his slider and shown a willingness to throw it. He seems to have a good mentality for the pen and is a very hard worker. As Wedge said, he has been thrown into the fire on a number of occasions and has responded well. It is easy to see why there is excitement about him in the organization.
News and notes…
When Wedge was asked for an update on Kevin Millwood this afternoon he again said that he was going to give him more time with the bad shoulder but then allowed for the possibility that Millwood may have made his last start of the year.
“We still need to give him some time to see if he is going to pitch again quite frankly,” said Wedge.
Millwood has not thrown since the game he came out of and there is no timetable to start throwing again…
There was a light moment in the clubhouse this afternoon and Felix Hernandez was in the middle of it.
Felix was in a particularly bouncy mood today, wearing his Miami Heat jersey and again firing a small rubber dodgeball at teammates before the game. When he went to retrieve the ball that ended up in a locker, he picked up a box that contained newly purchased cowboy boots. Whose locker housed these boots? Luis Jimenez.
Felix, who was wearing his baseball pants and a tee shirt put the boots on laughing the whole time. What he didn’t know was that Jimenez had come up behind him and was none too happy.
Okay, actually he was just putting on a show but he refused to crack a smile as he looked at Felix who was helpless with laughter. When Felix recovered he tried to make him crack by going through his pitching motion in the boots. Jimenez was pretty much the only player in the clubhouse who was not smiling at that point. He even challenged a couple of people with a gruff “Hey, what are you laughing at?” Finally he laughed and gave Felix a hug…
Someone who would have completely approved of the above stopped by the clubhouse shortly after. Eddie Guardado made an appearance chatting mostly with staff, Carl Willis who he pitched with in Minnesota, Felix and Miguel Olivo. It was good to see Eddie who looked the same, maybe a little more grey in the goatee. Eddie is in town for Michael Young’s charity bowling tournament.