Manning Adjusting To Triple-A

For the last two seasons, Charlie Manning was stuck in a state of flux in Double-A Trenton. He proved time and time again that he could pitch at the Double-A level, going 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA last season. But, once he finally earned his promotion to Triple-A, things always seemed to go wrong. Before Manning could ever get adjusted to Triple-A batters, he found himself back in the Eastern League.


Before this season, Charlie Manning had only appeared in eight games in Triple-A and had tabulated a large ERA of 5.59. In his first full season at the Triple-A level, Manning has proven to be a much better pitcher at times.

While he has posted a 4.63 ERA for the Scranton Yankees, the fact that the left-hander has done so well against right-handed batters this season (.215 average against) has been very encouraging.

He is extremely relieved that he finally has gotten the opportunity to pitch at the highest minor league level.

"It [playing regularly in Triple-A] is such a weight off your shoulders," Manning said. "Regardless of whatever level I have been at, I've always worked hard. But to finally get up here and start to open some eyes is such a good feeling."

Manning has been a vital part of the Scranton bullpen, which has been solid all season. For the first three years of his career, Manning was a regular starter at every level he pitched at. Today, he doesn't envision returning to a starting role.

"Starting was alright and I did enjoy it, but I really like being in the bullpen," he said. "I like coming in late in the game. There's just so much more intensity and it's a totally different rush from starting. I just like it so much more."

"As far as I'm concerned, he's going to be a bullpen guy," Scranton pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "You can never say never, but I don't think he'll be a starter again."

Regardless of his success, however, Manning is always trying to adjust his game so he can get to the next level.

"Right now, I'm just trying to straighten my mechanics a little bit," he said. "I want to get to the point where I was last year where I was putting the ball everywhere I wanted to. I want to get back to how I felt last year."

"This is my third year with Charlie, so I know what kind of pitcher he is," Eiland said. "We're just working with his delivery to try to quicken his arm up a little bit."

As Eiland reiterated earlier, starting may be out the equation from now on for Manning and that may not be a bad thing. Until recently, Manning has had a knack to keep the Scranton Yanks into close ball games.

One instance came on June 10th when Scranton was down to Durham 1-0 in a pitchers duel. Manning relieved starter Matt Delsalvo and in two innings of work, he did not give up a hit and struck out four batters. He also found a way to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth that kept the score tied at one. Scranton went on to win the game 2-1.

"He's managed his way to put himself into some big situations where he can get some serious looks," Eiland said. "He's come up huge for us in some big spots this year."

As for life in Triple-A and in the Scranton bullpen, Manning is enjoying every second of it.

"I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable each time I go out there," he said. "Coming up here, you have some jitters at first, but I've worked those out. I'm just trying to make myself a better player everyday."

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