Dunn Finding His Way

Dunn has a 3.34 combined ERA this year

Mike Dunn is a smooth throwing lefty reliever with a high-quality repertoire. After an okay statistical season in 2008 [4.55 ERA], he has come back stronger in his 2009 campaign. Spanning two different levels in the Yankee organization, the left-hander has enjoyed plenty of success this year.

"Good," he said of his season. "I started out the year down in AA and I'm now up to AAA, its going real good right now."

Still fairly new to the pitching scene [ he switched from the outfield in 2006] and only having a cup of coffee above high-A in 2008, Dunn took valuable lessons away from his time in Double-A Trenton earlier this year, notching a 3.71 ERA in 53.1 innings.

"You know it's just getting more innings in the bullpen, kind of feeling myself out since moving to the pen last year, see how I'm reacting to the role, " he added.

"I really like the pen, it's my third year pitching and I feel really good about it."

Now up to the Triple-A level, Dunn has taken the challenge head on to the tune of a 2.33 ERA in 19.1 innings, while striking out 22.

"You know I was real excited when they told me I was coming up. I knew the pitching coach [Scott Aldred] real well and worked with him a few times.

"You know the biggest thing is the hitters are more patient, I've got to throw strikes. You can get away with a little more in Double-A. Everyone in the lineup here can hit home runs, so you can't make mistakes."

Armed with a mid-90's fastball and a plus slider, Dunn is a weapon out of the pen that not many organizations have the luxury of having. But there's one pitch that he's hoping continues to improve.

"I've been mainly fastball and slider. But my changeup's been good this year which in the past, I kind of left on the back-burner. My slider is going okay but I'm just always trying to get ahead with fastball."

In his last ten appearances, working 18.1 innings, Dunn has allowed just 14 hits, while striking out 20, to the tune of a 2.00 ERA. Dunn is a guy who takes pride in being able to be stretched out for multiple innings and help his team.

"I'm just trying to do whatever I'm asked. I try and work as fast as I can, keep the team in ball games and not give up any runs."

With the work he's put in at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season, one can only wonder if a September call-up is on the horizon. While it's a possibility, Dunn tries to keep things in perspective.

"It's exciting! It's hard not to think about it. But I try to keep it behind me and focus where I'm at right now."

If he his called up to the big club this summer, it could change some plans of his for this fall.

"They told me basically if I don't get a call-up [in September] I would probably go to the Fall League (Arizona Fall League). If I do get a call-up, I probably won't go."

With the Triple-A regular season nearing its conclusion, Dunn looks forward to working on a few things to get better.

"A couple mechanical issues, I've looked at some film. Keeping my front leg in line with home plate. Just some minor tweaks."

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