Nageotte, Blackley Open Minor League Season
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on April 6, 2006
Righthander Clint Nageotte and lefthander Travis Blackley will open the minor league season for the Seattle Mariners, beginning with this afternoon's contest between Double-A San Antonio and the Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros) at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas. Game is at 12:05 pm Seattle time.
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Nageotte will take the mound for Triple-A Tacoma at Cheney Stadium, taking on the Colorado Springs Skysox (Colorado Rockies) at 6:05 pm.
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Blackley, 23, had labrum surgery in February of 2005 and missed all of last season, instead spending the entire calendar year in Peoria, Arizona on a rehab schedule.
"I got so tired of being down there," said Blackley. "I didn't care where they sent me as long as I wasn't in Arizona anymore. I just want to pitch."
Blackley is no longer feeling any abnormal, unexpected soreness after pitching, and hasn't since long before spring training began. He tossed 4.2 innings versus Seattle last Saturday and picked up the win, throwing 77 pitches, 46 for strikes.
He was a bit erratic with his command, but nothing out of the ordinary for a labrum surgery recipient making his fifth live appearance since rolling off the slab in Beverly Hill 14 months ago.
The Australian native is ready to go, and had his favorite pitch working last weekend.
"My cutter," Blackley said with a smile. "That's what was working best today, so today that's my favorite pitch."
Of course that's his favorite pitch. He got outs with it and that's all he's out to do these days. Well, that and stay healthy.
"I'll see you soon," said Blackley, predicting a quick promotion from Double-A San Antonio.
Nageotte started the game Saturday, throwing four solid innings, with the exception of one hiccup frame where he couldn't find the plate.
"I think I did all right," Nageotte said. "That one inning I just couldn't find it."
To be the opening day starter among a bunch of talented starting pitchers, including lefthander Bobby Livingston and righthander Jesse Foppert, is a sign of what the Mariners think of Nageotte, and their plans for the 2006 season.
"Yeah, it does feel good," said the 25-year-old Nageotte who found out about the assignment from the media just seconds prior.
Nageotte's bread and butter is still the slider, which he admits wasn;t the same a year ago, as he pitched from the bullpen.
"Oh yeah, it was down," he said. "It didn't feel right, probably all year. Though I felt strong in the Fall League."
Nageotte worked through the M's lineup nearly unscathed on Saturday, and racked up a couple of strikeouts. Getting Richie Sexson on strikes was nice, especially since it didn't come on the slider.
"It was a fastball," said Nageotte. "I came inside and it looked like he was expecting something away and I got him."
Nageotte will face a Skysox lineup tonight that does not include Rockies' top prospects Chris Ianetta and Ian Stewart but does feature Bo Hart, Omar Quintanilla and Jayson Nix, as well as JD Closser.
Blackley will face a Hooks lineup that features former big-leaguer Jared Sandberg, catcher J.R. House and outfielder Hunter Pence.
Notes: Congrats to Nageotte for winning the NCAA tourney pool last weekend. When UCLA defeated LSU, Nageotte wrapped up the win. Blackley claims that his draw of Wichita State had nothing to do with the fact that his wife is from Kansas, claiming it was a draw out of a hat.
Sure, Travis. Whatever.
Just goes to show, Aussie baseballers know jack about hoops.