YMLN - Black Looks Good In First Intrasquad

Black was showing good command on Thursday

TAMPA, FL - Pitching was the name of the game in Thursday's first minor league intrasquad game of Spring Training, headlined by right-hander Sean Black even though his Charleston team fell to Tampa 3-0 in a five-inning affair.

  • Sean Black struck out the first two batters he faced with relative ease in a 1-2-3 lone inning of work. Not only was he locating his fastball well, he was showing the same improved curveball he was showcasing back at Instructs.

  • It wasn't as if the Tampa bats were leading the charge in their victory either as Corban Joseph was the only one to get a hit on Thursday. He went 1-1 with a walk and a run scored. Physically he looks pretty much the same as last year.

  • Charleston's Starting Lineup: Kelvin Duran, Carmen Angelini, Jimmy Paredes, Reymond Nunez, Taylor Grote, Kelvin De Leon, Robert Lyerly, Garrison Lassiter, Francisco Arcia, and Luke Murton.

  • Tampa's Starting Lineup: Abraham Almonte, Corban Joseph, Jose Pirela, J.R. Murphy, Melky Mesa, Bradley Suttle, Neil Medchill, Zoilo Almonte, Fu-Lin Kuo, and Trent Lockwood.

  • Black wasn't the only Charleston pitcher who looked strong on Thursday. Caleb Cotham also had a scoreless inning in the victory, striking out one and showing a power fastball. His fastball command wasn't nearly as sharp, however, walking a batter, but the runner was quickly erased on a great defensive play by first baseman Reymond Nunez [0-2] where he turned a double-play on a grounder to him.

  • Outfielder Taylor Grote [1-2] collected the only extra-base hit in the game, lacing a double into right-centerfield. He also grounded out sharply in his first at-bat.

  • Like Cotham, Graham Stoneburner was overpowering on the mound. He was showing good fastball command too, as well as his quality slider. He struck out one batter before inducing two quick ground ball outs in his one inning of work.

  • The Charleston pitchers weren't the the only ones getting off to a good start on Thursday. Tampa lefty Manny Banuelos struck out the first batter he faced and forced to quick ground ball outs immediately afterwards.

  • There was one brutal performance on the rubber. Charleston left-hander Sam Elam walked three batters, issued a wild pitch, and was charged with all three runs given up. He walked two batters on eight straight pitches. There were some pitches that were in the zone and the batters couldn't touch him at all at those moments, but the strikes were few and far between.

  • Adam Warren [1 IP, K], Tim Norton [1 IP, K], and Brandon Braboy [1 IP, 1 H, K] each looked quite strong for Tampa on Thursday.

  • Robert Lyerly was the only other player on either A-ball team who hit safely in the game, going 1-2 with a single.

  • On the good news front, Bradley Suttle [0-2] played in his first live game since the end of the 2008 season and he also played third base on Thursday. He was stinging the ball from the left side in the batting cages before the game.

  • On the rehab front, Brett Marshall is up on the half-mound these days and should start throwing off a full mound in two weeks. Marshall says he's feeling great. George Kontos will be up on the regular mound in the next couple of days.

  • Only four Dominican Summer League players from last year - Jackson Valera, Anderson Feliz, Reymond Nunez, and Kelvin Duran - are participating in Spring Training at the Tampa complex. And only Gary Sanchez - not Chris Cabrera - among last year's Internaional signing period is currently in camp.

    On the roster assignment front:

  • J.R. Murphy's designation with the Tampa work group and Higashioka's with Charleston pretty much puts the proverbial writing on the wall that Higashioka should open up in Charleston and Murphy is most likely headed to Extended Spring Training.

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