Pestano Takes Positive Approach to Demotion
Matt Travis | On 05, Aug 2013
Every person in life is going to face challenges and roadblocks at some point in time. The way that you can find out a person’s real character is by seeing how they adjust and adapt to these moments. Vinnie Pestano is currently in one of those moments. Pestano was sent down to Triple-A Columbus on July 30.
“Obviously I would love things to be going different but you can’t control going up and down and roster moves,” Pestano said. “The only thing you can really control is your own attitude and how you are going to come out to the ballpark every day.”
This season has been somewhat of a trying season for Pestano, as he came into the season with great momentum after last season but was unable to capture and use that momentum to find success. After a year where he posted a 2.57 ERA with 24 walks, 76 strikeouts and a crucial 36 holds as the set up man for the Indians, Pestano was set this season to be a key piece of the bullpen. However things did not go his way this season, with his numbers going up in all categories. Pestano saw his ERA balloon to 4.05 with six home runs, compared to just seven all of last year.
“When you struggle sometimes you need something to kick you back into the way you were pitching,” Pestano said. “When you come down here you need to focus on what was working when you were down here the first time trying to make it up and focus on that again. If you can work as hard down here at Columbus as you did during your first time in minor league ball then you will be able to fix what is happening and hopefully be back up soon.”
The attitude of Pestano has not gone unnoticed around the clubhouse and has been viewed as a key to getting to work and fixing the problems as soon as possible.
“He (Pestano) has been fantastic,” Columbus manager Chris Tremie said. “He came right into the clubhouse and went right to work. When he came down, he got involved with all the guys and started talking with them right away. He has come down with one of the best attitudes you possibly can, given the current situation he is in.”
During his brief time in Columbus so far, Pestano has made two appearances and pitched great in both showings. His first outing was the day after he was given the news he would be going down, pitching against the Buffalo Bisons on July 31. In the game Pestano came in and pitched seventh inning, allowing no hits, one walk and struck out a batter. He started the inning getting a one pitch out on a bunt and followed it by a three-pitch strike out. While Pestano did walk the next batter, he easily got the fourth batter on a harmless pop fly to shallow right field.
His next appearance on Aug 2, again against the Buffalo Bison, was even better then his first. Pestano came into the game during the eighth inning of a combined no-hitter and did his job to keep things going. He started the inning off with a ground ball to the first basemen on three pitches, then was able to get back-to-back strike outs on five and four pitches respectively.
“Having a pitcher like Pestano in the bullpen is a boost to an already solid bullpen,” Tremie said. “Putting another arm like his in there on makes this bullpen more confident in themselves and really helps everyone I think, including Pestano.”
Often times the players around you and the attitude around you can be crucial to if you succeed or not, especially when you are coming into a new team and clubhouse. While there are times when there is a stigma or somewhat of an attitude problem when a player is sent to play at Triple-A, that does not seem to be the case with Pestano and the other players.
“The guys down here are great guys,” Pestano said. “Cleveland always does a great job not only singing guys who are great players but are always great people. Having met a lot of these guys when I played here in Columbus and from spring training, it is clear that there is a great clubhouse and great attitude here in Columbus. You could find a lot worse places to play, that is for sure.”
During Pestano’s struggles this season, many people have pointed to his time spent playing in the World Baseball Classic as a reason he might have lost some of his groove from last season. Pestano however does not feel this way.
“Playing in the WBC (World Baseball Classic) was an absolute honor for me,” Pestano said. “With baseball being taken out of the Olympics, the WBC is the highest level of international baseball and being able to wear USA on my chest was a pretty amazing feeling. I feel like playing in it was a great positive thing for me and something I will honestly remember forever.”
The worry was that the WBC might have worn Pestano down or cut into his offseason too much, but that does not seem to be the case.
“While I did find out a little late, as I was told in January, my offseason was exactly the same up to that point,” Pestano said. “While I started playing catch about two to three weeks early it really wasn’t a huge change. I was told I was on a bigger roster that needed to be cut down so I had to get myself ready either way and lucky enough for me I was able to be on the roster.”
Overall it seems as though Pestano is taking the best possible approach you can take when faced with a situation like he is in. Pestano is taking the approach of keeping your head up, working hard every single day and coming out to whatever ballpark he might be playing in and trying to make himself better every single day.
“You can come down here and be all, ‘Woe is me. Why is this happening? Why me?’ but really, what does that do,” Pestano asked. “If you come with that attitude you will not get better. You won’t be the pitcher you want to be and it will only make your time here harder. You have to be positive and have to come out with the approach that, ‘hey, I get to play baseball today. I am a pretty lucky guy,’ and just keep trying to get better.”
Photo: Brooke L. Avalley/Columbus Dispatch