Making his first spring start, right-hander Zack Segovia limited a lineup of Yankee regulars minus A-Rod to two hits through the first four innings before allowing a run in the fifth.
The subject of a pair of Wednesday morning pieces by Todd Zolecki and Paul Hagen, the soon-to-be 24-year-old is suddenly in the bullpen picture, all because he’s been able to do what few candidates have all spring: throw strikes. Segovia allowed five hits and a run and walked none in five innings yesterday.
Segovia may be listed just outside prospect magazines’ Top 10 lists, but he’s no mediocrity, and his stock is rising after landing back on his feet after a near two-year recovery from Tommy John surgery. Following a 16-win season between Clearwater and Reading, which could have been close to 20 had he not pitched for Team USA, Baseball America identifies him as "A classic late bloomer,” with a better perspective on how to be a complete pitcher. Segovia echoed those reports after last night’s start.
"Obviously, it was a case of out-of-sight-out-of-mind,” Segovia told Hagen. “I know I'm never going to throw as hard as I did in high school. It was a cool thing to do, but now I realize that when you reach back and throw harder, the ball comes up. In high school, they can't catch up with it. Here they can."
Beerleaguer: Segovia's season in Reading was similar to that of Carlos Silva when he was in town: stingy with walks; good with home runs; and the same sort of low profile Silva had in terms of hype. And just like Silva, he seems to be in that grey area whether he's a future starter or reliever. One writer close to the team told me the Phillies identified him as a reliever all along, and have merely been stretching his arm since surgery.
Segovia has yet to appear in a game above Double-A, so he’s very inexperienced. However, a start like this can go a long way to build confidence, maybe more than a couple months in the retread circuit of the International League. Knowing the team's tendencies, smart money is on Segovia starting back in Triple-A.