We came out hot for the first few games of the season, going 2-0 with a combination of great pitching and timely hitting. After that, we lost the next three games to finish the week at 2-3. Two of the losses came against our next door neighbors, the Peoria Javelinas, who were very impressive at the plate, scoring a combined 22 runs against us.
This week, I have to talk about our catchers. These guys were outstanding during the first week of play. Not only did they do a good job of calling the games and throwing out runners, but they also were big contributors at the plate. Brett Hayes of the Florida Marlins led the league in batting through the first week and played great behind the plate, even seeing some time at first base. In addition, we got to see Tuffy Gosewisch of the Philadelphia Phillies throw out two runners in a game (it should have been three) while adding two hits at the plate.
On Saturday night against Mesa, I made my AFL debut. I started the game and went two innings, getting the loss despite giving up only one unearned run. It was great to be competing against such high competition and finding out where I am in my development thus far. The highlight for my night was striking out my buddy, Matt LaPorta of the Milwaukee Brewers. Matt and I played on the USA Collegiate National Team in 2005, and I was happy to see him taken as the seventh overall pick in this year's draft. Matt would make up for the strikeout later by hitting one of the most impressive home runs I have seen in my lifetime. He will be a great player one day.
Before I answer a few of your questions, I would like to say thank you to all the fans who have sent their support and congratulations this past week. I have really appreciated your comments and am doing my best to answer all questions.
What have been the biggest or most difficult adjustments for you as a young player transitioning from the college level to the professional level? -- Stephen
That's a great question, Stephen. For me, there are several adjustments I've been making since I started my professional career a few months ago. First, it has been tough getting used to playing only once every five days. In college, I played first base when I wasn't pitching and loved doing it. But now it's time to focus on pitching and so I have to do pitcher activities that I managed to avoid in the past such as charting pitches, shagging in the outfield and the best of all -- conditioning! Secondly, I lived and played in Houston for the first 21 years of my life and moving all around has certainly been a change, although I have enjoyed seeing the rest of the country.
What will you be working on during your time in Arizona?
Several fans asked me about this subject. During the fall league, I will be working on several things. First and foremost, I will be working on throwing strikes and as many of them as possible. In the past, I have struggled with command at times, especially since I had shoulder surgery just over a year ago. That may include working on mechanics and changing how I approach pitching mentally. Secondly, I will try to find consistent break in my curveball/slider and my changeup. At times, both pitches are good, but in order to pitch in the big leagues, they will need to be much more consistent.
In closing, I want to recognize a high school teammate, classmate and friend of mine, David Williams, who sadly passed away last week. He will be missed by many, and my prayers are with his loved ones and close friends.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.