Norton More Than Holding His Own

Norton is striking out more than one per inning

TAMPA, FL – Tim Norton is coming off of his second shoulder surgery and is throwing the ball well for the High-A Tampa Yankees. He has thrown 15.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on fourteen hits. The 6-foot-5 righty has surrendered only four walks and has struck out 17. Florida State League batters have struggled mightily against him, batting a dismal .226 through nine appearances.

Tim Norton missed the entire 2008 season and appeared in 23 games, tossing 36 innings in 2009, before being shut down again. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 draft as a starter, however, the shoulder surgeries have forced him to work out of the bullpen.

"It's tough to maintain that whole starter throwing routine as a guy coming off major shoulder surgery," Norton explained. "I don't think it was pre-determined, that's just how things kind of fell in place."

As a starter for the Staten Island Yankees in 2006 Norton made 15 starts, tossing 72.2 innings while notching a 2.60 ERA and a 3-3 record. After a strong performance in the short-season league he was promoted to the Charleston RiverDogs in 2007 where he threw 26.2 innings in five starts, before undergoing his first surgery.

Since his surgery Norton says that he has lost a few miles per hour on his fastball, but is still getting stronger.

"I was low-to-mid 90's before, right around there and now I'm low 90's," he said. "I don't have it all back yet, but it's good enough."

Through the 2010 season, Norton has given High-A opponents fits at the plate, but says there is still room for improvement.

"There's always something you could do a little different," he said when talking about his secondary pitches. "They're good, I just need to be more consistent with them. I can throw a good one, but it's more about if I can throw it every time.

"I need to keep working on the consistency of the slider and the changeup, both."

Norton points to the changeup, more-so than the slider needing the most attention.

"They can always get a little better, but the changeup is something I need to really get on."

During his 2010 campaign he has thrown two, or more innings, in six of his nine outings. Norton says that he feels healthy now, and does not think that the shoulder surgeries will add any additional fatigue during the season.

"We're all going to get tired at some point, we all do, but hopefully I can sustain being healthy, that's it," he said. "I feel okay now; I feel healthy and just need to keep going [forward]."

Although he has posted phenomenal statistics during his time early this year, Norton reiterated the importance of continuing to work and that many improvements can be made to his performance.

"I feel like I'm doing okay, but I feel like I can pitch a lot better; Guys are making plays behind me. I've given up more than one run just that one was earned," Norton said before the holiday weekend, "but it shows that I could pitch a little better with guys on base and throw some more off-speed pitches for strikes."

Norton, a part of the 2009 Florida State League Champion squad, thinks the 2010 team has a chance to compete for the title again. But, he also points to a few clear differences in the teams.

"We had some guys with some pop on that team last year," he said. "We're a little different squad, but if we can put it together, you never know. There is going to be a lot of moves made come All-Star break and the team will start to gel after that. If we can click, you never know."

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