MiLB Empressed By Pomeranz’s Debut With Drillers
By: David Heck
Drew Pomeranz hadn’t pitched in almost a month, but he looked anything but rusty on Wednesday night.
MLB.com’s No. 31 prospect retired the first 19 batters he faced in a Drillers uniform en route to a seven-inning, two-hit performance. Double-A Tulsa went on to blank Midland, 6-0, to snap a six-game losing streak.
Pomeranz, who had not pitched since July 25, struck out four without issuing a walk in front of Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd.
“Things were just going great,” Pomeranz said. “It helps that I threw a good amount of strikes and was ahead of the hitters. It’s a lot easier to pitch that way — it helps to be in control of the game. If you’re behind, it’s a little tougher. The first six innings, I stayed in great counts. Apparently, where I threw the ball was the right spot tonight.”
The 22-year-old left-hander lost the perfect game with one out in the seventh, when Grant Green — the A’s No. 1 prospect– singled on a ground ball up the middle. The RockHounds’ only other hit came in the next at-bat as Stephen Parker lined a single to right field.
“That’s just part of baseball,” Pomeranz said. “I really wasn’t too [ticked] or anything. I was just like, ‘Oh well.’ I gave up another hit and was like, ‘Well let’s get the next guy.’ You give up a hit or two, you don’t want it to blow up on you when you’ve been pitching well the whole time.”
Pomeranz worked his way out of trouble by striking out Michael Spina and getting Adam Heether to line out. He left after throwing 78 pitches.
The fifth overall pick in the 2010 Draft, Pomeranz was included as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland on July 30. Because players cannot be traded until one year after they are signed, the Ole Miss product could not officially be included in the deal until Tuesday.
“I really, truly did not think I was going to get traded,” Pomeranz said. “I was initially shocked. But teams do what they’ve got to do. They did what they did for a reason. That’s part of baseball, too; people get traded. Things happen like this. You’ve just got to learn how to stay focused. It’s baseball — it’s basically the same thing everywhere.”
Pomeranz spent his time off working out at the Indians’ spring training complex in Arizona.
“It has benefits and its downfall, too,” said Pomeranz, who posted a 1.98 ERA across two levels before the trade. “But what Minor League pitcher in his first year of pro ball wouldn’t want to have two weeks off to help yourself get in better shape, look at some video and work on things you want to work on worry-free? I think that helped me out.”
Pomeranz’s old brother, Stuart, served as the Drillers’ closer last season and recorded 18 saves. The 26-year-old right-hander, who signed with the Dodgers in the offseason, gave Pomeranz a scouting report of his new home.
“He told me it was a great organization, it was a nice stadium and it was hot as hell,” Pomeranz said. “He was pretty right about the last two things. Everything’s been great, talking to people here so far. The organization seems like a good organization. Everything he said has been true so far.”
Casey Weathers pitched the final two innings for Tulsa, striking out one and walking one. The two hits were the fewest allowed this season by the Drillers, who rank third in the Texas League with nine shutouts.
Leading Tulsa offensively was shortstop Hector Gomez, who went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored and fell a single shy of the cycle.