Morimando Assuming Bigger Role with Mudcats
Rob McLamb | On 09, Apr 2014
In 2013, Carolina Mudcats starter Shawn Morimando flew under the radar on a star-studded team. With the top prospects from that squad in Akron this season, the left hander from Virginia Beach, Va., who finished 8-13 with a 3.73 ERA, will now feature prominently for the Muddies.
Carolina manager Scooter Tucker, with guidance from within the Cleveland organization, gave Morimando the start on Opening Day on Thursday. The lefty gave a yeoman’s effort, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings while fanning three and walking one in the Mudcats’, 6-3, victory over Potomac at Five County Stadium. Tucker feels Morimando can expand on last season’s growth and deserved the shot to start the first game.
“As Spring Training developed and they get their innings in, [Cleveland management] felt like he was ready for the opportunity,” Tucker said. “He pitched extremely well in Spring Training.
“Obviously, I did not get to see him last year,” Tucker added. “During the spring I like what I saw. You always know in Spring Training that pitchers are ahead of the hitters, but he is a guy that is much more confident by coming back here.
Morimando was a 19th round draft pick out of high school and decided to get his pro career going despite committing to play college ball at East Carolina. He does not look back with regret on his decision and is squarely focused on doing what it takes to improve at his craft.
Every day I am out here trying to work hard and get better,” Morimando said. “I work hard during the week. I don’t look at stats or anything.”
It is that work ethic and desire for improvement that caught Carolina pitching coach Steve Karsay’s attention. The former 1st round draft pick, who was once traded by the Tribe to Atlanta for John Rocker, is confident that Morimando has what it takes both skill-wise and intellectually to advance through the Cleveland system.
“I think Shawn had a phenomenal year last season numbers-wise,” Karsay said. “There are some things we feel he needs to work on. We have got to cut down his walks, we have got to get a little more consistency out of him, but stuff-wise, there is no question Shawn has the ability to move to the level.
Not deterred by a return trip to Zebulon to pitch for the Mudcats, Morimando understands that he has work to do if he would like to achieve his ultimate dream of taking the mound at Progressive Field. With Karsay by his side this coming summer, he feels that Cleveland is providing a valuable resource to learn from.
“We have a great coaching staff,” Morimando said. “[Karsay] is a awesome guy. He has been in the league for a long time. He had a great career. I am excited to work with him. We’ve talked a lot and I have worked with him in [the Instructional League] last year and some in Spring Training. I am ready for more.”
While he is one of the few remaining players at Five County Stadium from last season’s highly acclaimed team, Morimando views it on a grander scale within the context of the Indians organization. Pitching and competing for the Tribe is the ultimate dream, but the lefty feels that being a Mudcat is an extension of that.
“Cleveland is first-class, Morimando said. “It is very family-oriented. It is an honor to be in this organization. They only want what is best for us”
Photo by Nikolaus