Toronto Blue Jays righthander Jesse Litsch was impressive in his rehab start with New Hampshire in Trenton, spinning five innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Litsch, shelved with a “shoulder impingement,” faced the minimum through three innings and ended up issuing no walks and striking out six during his second rehab appearance.
“I felt great, I was very happy with the outing today. The ball came out great,” said Litsch, who threw 66 pitches; including 41 strikes.
“If you ask me how close I am, I’d say I’m there. I’m ready to go. I think I’ve got one more (start), they just told me I’m going to Vegas. It’s a matter of just chugging along and getting through it and trying to get back up there.”
Litsch really found his stride in the second and third innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced.
“I was just locating,” Litsch said.
“I mean, I was mixing pitches. That first inning, I threw a lot of heaters, but after that I mixed pitches and got outs. That’s the way it is, you’ve got to be able to mix your pitches up there, and here too. Hitters are good here, and they’ve got a good hitting team. They put good swings on the ball.”
The 26-year-old gave up just two hard hit balls all night, both coming in the fourth inning. A double by red-hot Corban Joseph and a single up the middle by Brad Suttle gave Trenton the only run they’d get off of Litsch.
“I’d never faced him before, and I hadn’t seen him either, so he kind of caught me off-guard the first at-bat. I wish I would have been a little bit more aggressive,” Suttle said.
“But once we started getting a feel for him, we could be more aggressive. He’s a big league guy, he’s going to be around the zone and not a guy you want to get two strikes on. That was kind of my approach and it worked out in the second at-bat.”
Litsch left after just five innings in favor of Clint Everts, who ended up picking up the loss.
“I could have finished that game,” Litsch said.
“If they would have let me out there, I felt strong enough to be out there and finish the whole game, or at least keep battling out there. It’s a matter of just building up the pitch count and the innings and getting back up there.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com