Stephen Pryor ready plus news and notes
Aug 6, 2012, 8:35 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2012, 9:35 am
By Shannon Drayer
Stephen Pryor’s first call-up was short lived as he suffered a strained left groin in just his sixth appearance. He was placed on the DL and after a rehab assignment sent to Triple-A, where he used his time wisely. He has made just one appearance since being recalled but in that appearance he struck out two and featured not just his high-heat fastball but a nice slider as well. Eric Wedge has liked what he has seen from Pryor and has said that he would like to get him into some meaningful game situations. Pryor feels he is ready.
On “Beyond the Baselines” Monday he told me that in going back to Tacoma he was able to focus on the things he felt he needed to after seeing big league hitters for the first time. The biggest thing for him was to trust his fastball.
“My command has got a lot better than a year ago,” he said. “I still don’t have the command I want to but I have confidence to throw it. I may miss my spot but if I throw it with conviction I might throw it by someone or at least use it to set up something else.”
For Pryor, trusting his fastball, which can top out at 100 mph, means letting it fly. He is not a guy who can find his command if he takes a little off the fastball.
“I have to be full throttle all the way,” he said. “If I try to aim it really messes with my mechanics. You just have to be confident, see the mitt and attack that spot.”
He’s doing that with more than the fastball. He knows he has to throw his slider and sometimes it has been difficult to do so, especially after giving up a home run on that pitch in that first outing.
“It was more of a side to side and the velocity was down,” he said of the sliders he threw in June. “I have been working on more of an up and down, trying to work on staying on top of the ball and getting more depth with the pitch, which the velocity helps with. I have been able to throw more consistent sliders of late.”
In addition to the slider he has been working on throwing a changeup. He threw one for the first time in a big league game Friday in New York.
“You can’t be just a two-pitch pitcher,” he said. “You need something in case you don’t have something and I was glad to see [Miguel] Olivo put the sign down for it.”
I asked Pryor what it was like to have Carter Capps in the pen with him. Capps also throws triple digits and I imagine Pryor hasn’t had the opportunity to be around others who can do that.
“We started in Double-A together,” he said. “I had the harder fastball then and now he has got a better fastball than me. He has got the velocity, he’s got a flame thrower.”
“It’s good,” he continued. “We kind of have a competition but we both pull for each other so it’s kind of a thing where we just try to outwork each other and get better with each other. It’s a good friendly competition. It makes us better, the team better. It has been great for both of us.
Mike Carp made his return after a whirlwind trip to California to see his new baby girl. His daughter was born five minutes before game time Saturday.
“I was hoping that she would hold out for Anaheim but she wanted to come and there was no stopping her,” Carp said at his locker after showing pictures to reporters. “I got in at about 10 (p.m.) and there’s no greater feeling in the world. Walked in, and she’s mine. There she is.”
You may recall that Carp had the game-winning hit Saturday in New York. He said it was a crazy day for him being up all night and figuring out what to do then getting the news the baby had been born. He ran in between innings to check his phone for updates then scurried past reporters after the game, saying he had to run. He was up all Friday night, got about four hours of sleep Sunday night and then a couple hours of sleep on the plane Monday afternoon.
“It’s baseball,” he said. “Two straight show-and-gos for me!”
Obviously, there is no Mariner who is looking forward to getting to Anaheim Thursday more than Carp.
Moving on …
Brendan Ryan has been missed, both defensively and with the bat. He has better range of motion with his arm, although it was still quite swollen before the game. He is hopeful that he can return Tuesday.
Not returning for the time being is Erasmo Ramirez, who was taken off his rehab assignment and optioned to Tacoma. According to Wedge he will have to “earn his way” back to the big club.
Franklin Gutierrez appears no closer to a rehab assignment as Wedge said he had a good day of work Sunday but needs to string a few of those together before he can progress to games.