In grapefruit league action yesterday, 18-year-old shortstop Ruben “don’t call me Miguel” Tejada blasted a double in the gap to score Michel Abreu with the winning run in the tenth inning to beat the Braves 3-2.
Ramon Castro had two hits including a standup triple. Had Jose Reyes hit the ball, he might have rounded the bases twice.
Though Castro’s first triple since little league was the big news of the day, it should also be noted that Mike Pelfrey threw three strong, scoreless innings at the beginning of the game, allowing only two hits and no walks, striking out none.
It was an encouraging outing by Pelfrey, and a good confidence builder. What I liked to see was that he was aggressive, throwing strikes early in the count and relying heavily on his sinking fastball. But the pessimist in me had one problem with the outing: still no offspeed pitch. I saw several sliders but only one or two changeups (one thrown for a strike). For Pelfrey to succeed as a Major League starter, he has to change speeds.
Of course, it’s still early — he can build off this performance. Hopefully, we’ll see his confidence and aggressiveness continue to develop through the spring, and eventually we’ll see more slowballs. With El Duque out until who knows when, he has a golden opportunity to win the #5 spot in the rotation.