Search this site
Junior College Football
NY Yankees Home
Minor League Rosters
Staten Island (Short-A)
GCL Yankees (R)
DSL Yankees1 (R)
DSL Yankees2 (R)
Minor League Rankings
Pope Not Throwing Scared
Pope has a renewed confidence on the mound
Posted Jun 1, 2006
Justin Pope had no problem making the transition from starter to reliever last season with the Trenton Thunder. After Pope struggled with AAA-Columbus to start this season, Pope is back with the Thunder and back to dominating out of the bullpen.
(FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)
He is 1-0 with six saves and a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings with the Thunder this season and knows that to continue successfully, he must trust his stuff and throw his game.
“I have to rely on throwing strikes, keeping the ball down low and changing speeds,” said Pope, who went 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched while at Columbus. “I put way too much pressure on myself and was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was trying to do too much.”
Pope doesn’t have overpowering stuff so when he begins to overthrow or try to be too fine, he gets in trouble. Thunder manager Bill Masse is confident that Pope is back to pitching like he was last year where Pope posted a 6-4 record with 29 saves and a 2.81 ERA.
“To his credit, he is back to where he was last year here,” Masse said. “When you go up to AAA, you have to throw like you are here in AA and not throw scared.”
Thunder pitching coach Dave Eiland agreed that “he [Pope] didn’t trust his stuff. He was maybe trying to avoid too much contact where here, he attacks hitters with all three of his pitches.”
Pope’s best pitch his is changeup that he can not only strike batters out with, but uses to get groundballs. Pope’s changeup is especially effective to left-handers, who batted .230 against him last year where right-handed batters hit .236. With Pope’s ability to get batters out and his high competitive spirit, the coaching staff nor players seem worried when Pope enters the game.
“I have the utmost confidence in him when he comes in the game,” Eiland said. “I am very comfortable with it. He is a true gamer.”
One Pope’s most recent appearances came in Saturday night’s game against the Binghamton Mets. Pope entered in the top of the 8th inning to face the B-Mets' leadoff hitter Jonathan Slack with runners on first and second and two outs, and with the Thunder clinging to a 5-3 lead. Pope struck out Slack swinging and after a run in the bottom of the 8th on an
home run, Pope pitched an almost perfect ninth. He gave up a leadoff walk, but then got a fly out and back-to-back strikeouts to pick up the save for
“I have to stay aggressive and not give in to any batter no matter who is hitting,” Pope said. “I am just trying to control what I can on the field and go out there and throw strikes.”
Pope seems to have worked past his early season struggles at AAA-Columbus, but it won’t be the last time he takes that trip.
“He’ll get a chance again. You can only learn from experience and you can only get better from it. Next time he takes that trip, he’ll have that experience with him and do a lot better,” Masse said.
He added, “He is one of those guys who is going to have to prove himself at every level.”
today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and
premium content on PinstripesPlus.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
PinstripesPlus.com Total Access Pass™
at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual PinstripesPlus.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.
Q&A with Trenton Pitching Coach Dave Eiland
Jun 28, 2006
Pope Fighting That First Round Stigma
Apr 25, 2006
Pope Activated; Gardner Goes On DL
Aug 8, 2006
Subscribe today and get a full year of
Pinstripes Plus Magazine
with an annual Total Access Pass.
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from PinstripesPlus.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a
list of all Team Newsletters
Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to
View My HotList
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to
Baseball > NY Yankees
View My HotList
Places to go:
Junior College Football
Things to do:
Things to buy:
Things to know:
Terms of Service
Advertise on MSN
About our ads
© 2013 Microsoft