Mariners Insider

Capps command issues continue – Pryor, Paxton notes and Mariners minor league report

Post by TJ Cotterill / The News Tribune on July 23, 2013 at 12:29 am with No Comments »
July 23, 2013 5:33 pm

Michael Morse, Jesus Montero and Stephen Pryor all made appearances pretty fresh off the disabled list in the Tacoma Rainiers 4-2 win over the Tucson Padres on Monday at Cheney Stadium, but Carter Capps also played and still had trouble with his command.

Capps entered in the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to Eddy Rodriguez (the ninth batter in the order) then hit Gregorio Petit two batters later.

He hit two batters Sunday in Fresno, so clunking Petit on Monday continues to hammer the point that he needs to make strides with his command.

Capps has hit between 98-100 mph with his fastball (the fastest was 95 mph Monday) but he has developed a tendency to overthrow his pitches.

Rainiers manager John Stearns said it’s about his emotions.

“Carter has got to get his emotions under control on the mound, gather himself and not overthrow,” Stearns said. “He’s doing that a little bit. Terry Clark (Rainiers pitching coach) and I, we are going to work with him and turn this thing around.

“Right now, he’s pressing and he gets a little wild. We just have to get him to a cool, calm and collected mode and let him trust his stuff.”

Capps bypassed Triple-A last year and headed straight to the big leagues because of that strong arm.

“If he just commands that stuff, he’ll be one of the best pitchers in baseball.”

PRYOR GETTING MORE ACTION

Pryor is very similar, only his issue is only to get himself fully healed from a torn lat muscle that sent him to the DL in mid-April. He threw a scoreless seventh inning on Monday, allowing only a two-out single to Jesus Merchan.

He clearly wasn’t using any of the fastballs that took him all the way to Seattle in the first place. He peaked at about 92-93 mph, and worked his breaking balls, even getting Jaff Decker to strike out on an 85-mph changeup.

It was the second inning of relief he’s thrown in Tacoma. He pitched a scoreless inning Friday in Fresno as well.

Stearns said they plan on giving him two-inning games very soon.

“We don’t want him to come out and just blow everybody away – he’s a better pitcher than that,” Stearns said. “We want him to work on his secondary stuff, we don’t want him to throw his 98-mph stuff.

“We just want to get him going, get him acclimated and get him back in the big leagues as soon as possible.”

PAXTON CATCHING FIRE

But even with so many guys in Tacoma who will play a role in the Mariners future (and ones like Jesus Montero whose future’s are very uncertain) it’s very difficult to ignore hard-throwing lefty James Paxton and what he’s been producing lately. Known to be inconsistent (one game he allows six runs in 1 2/3 innings, the next he’s striking out 11 in six) he’s been dominant as of late.

His past six starts, he’s 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA. Paxton has 39 strikeouts the past 38 innings.

He cruised through six strong innings Monday, his fastest pitch reaching 95 mph and he struck out seven. More impressive was how he walked none.

“He was getting a lot of swings and misses with his fastball,” Stearns said. “He was bringing it up when he was ahead in the count and keeping it low in the zone early. Of course, he was working his breaking balls and change, too. When he is working like that, he is a very tough pitcher.

“His last five starts have been really an improvement from earlier in the year. I’m really encouraged about his improvement. If he keeps this up, anything is possible for him at any time.”

Definitely a nod for at least a September call up, if not a sooner call up.

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