A simple glance at the numbers from Matt Tracy’s first start would tell you that he’s more than ready to get another chance in his first foray into Double-A.
0-1, 135.00 ERA, 3 H, 4 BB, 1 K.
It was an outing that didn’t need no alibi. It was ugly. But perhaps it could have used some excuses. However, when a reporter threw out the idea that perhaps it was tough to command the ball in the New Hampshire cold, the 24-year-old southpaw quickly tossed it to the side.
“It really wasn’t that cold, so the weather is definitely not an excuse,” Tracy said.
“That definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to start the season, but I just didn’t make that many good pitches. It gets down to that, not throwing strikes. But there are some good things I can take away from it, and I can use it as a learning experience.”
To be sure, Tracy isn’t the pitcher who performed poorly on April 8. There’s plenty of proof to the contrary, with his recent Triple-A debut at the end of last season, in which he allowed just one run on three hits over five innings for the nomadic Scranton group serving as a good example. But of course, that was little more than a one-game call-up to fill an empty spot, with Double-A serving as his likely destination for the 2013 season. And just as much as actually getting on the mound will benefit him at this level going forward, so too has having had the opportunity to watch a few games this season as well.
“It’s been nice so far, we’ve got a great pitching staff around us, so we get to watch some good guys go to work,” he said. “It’s been good to learn a few things from them.”
Tracy has long relied on the standard fastball-changeup-curveball mix, but says he’s recently been working on implementing a cutter, which had been in the works after discussions with the Yankees organization over the past year.
“I’m excited about having a new pitch and working on it and adding it to my choices of pitches,” Tracy said. “We started working on it in spring training this year, and I started getting pretty comfortable with it. So, I’m excited to see where it goes. The command’s definitely not there with it just yet, but I’m getting more and more comfortable throwing it each day, and it’s definitely getting better and better.”
While Tracy realizes the importance of working on his new offering in the bullpen, he also realizes he’ll need to use it in games, as he did in his last outing.
“I’m using it in bullpens more, but you’ve got to use it in games,” he said.
“You might struggle with it every once in a while, but you’ve got to throw it in games to get comfortable throwing it. If it’s going to be a pitch for you down the road, you’ve got to be able to throw it in games.”
Tracy is expected to take the ball later today against the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com