Suter battles nerves, shows promise in debut

'There weren't a lot of barreled balls,' Counsell says of Brewers lefty

Suter battles nerves, shows promise in debut

SEATTLE -- You don't have to go to Harvard to know that there's quite a sizable difference between Triple-A and the big leagues.

Brewers left-hander Brent Suter went to Harvard, and so did his team's general manager, David Stearns, and so did the guy who signed Suter, Steffan Wilson, who's now the national cross-checker for the Angels.

That's a lot of brains behind one player, and it paid off when Suter made his Major League debut Friday night.

What Suter described as a "dream come true" didn't end up with his dream scenario. Suter was knocked around a bit by the Mariners, giving up four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in a game Milwaukee would go on to lose, 7-6.

But Suter got a heck of a crash course at the highest level of baseball, and he impressed a few people along the way with an array of pitches that rarely broke the upper 80s but all seemed to avoid being straight.

"It's kind of as advertised," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "There's some late movement going on that's really confusing the hitter, for sure. There weren't a lot of barreled balls."

Suter's nice play to home

Suter, who had struck out 75 batters while only walking 14 in 110 2/3 innings this season while pitching to a 3.50 ERA in hitter-friendly Triple-A Colorado Springs, issued two free passes in the first inning. He said he was partially nervous and partially over-amped in that frame, which caused his delivery to get just a little out of whack.

He got through that one unscathed and didn't allow a hit through three innings. But he ran into trouble in the fourth, when Kyle Seager blasted a curveball into the right-field seats, and again in the fifth, when the big mistake came on a pitch to Robinson Cano, which ended up in the right-field stands as well, this time for a two-run homer.

"I really try to avoid stuff that goes straight," Suter said. "That's part of my game. I try to pound the zone aggressively with stuff that has movement because I don't have the velocity factor.

"Unfortunately they got a couple that were moving and moved them out of the park."

Still, there were positive signs.

Catcher Manny Pina, who worked with Suter in Triple-A, said the left-hander's cutters weren't cutting early because of the understandable nerves, but they improved as the innings went on.

"I think he was comfortable," Pina said. "He throws what he has. I think next start he should be a lot better."

Suter admitted that he took a moment before his first pitch to soak in the atmosphere and revel in the fact that he had achieved a lifelong dream.

Then he got to work, which is what he hopes he'll continue to be able to do with a Brewers jersey on his back.

"I thought I definitely battled, gave it my all," Suter said. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity and not totally satisfied, but I'm glad that I battled for my team and tried to give us a chance to win."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.