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Hardworking Crockett Improving Game in Columbus

Hardworking Crockett Improving Game in Columbus

| On 04, May 2015

In this week’s Columbus Clippers update, we check in with left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett, who was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on April 12.

The Indians’ decision to send Crockett to Columbus was not based on performance. The 23-year-old had tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in three appearances. According to his dad, Gary, the Indians explained it to Kyle as a “business decision.” He was the only lefty on the team with options.

“It’s not frustrating to me,” said Crockett on being optioned to Columbus. “I’m still young so I’ve got some time. They had to do what they had to do and they’ve been playing better lately. Whenever they need me back up there I’ll be ready.”

After posting dominant numbers in two partial minor league seasons, the fourth round pick from the University of Virginia splashed onto the scene in 2014, becoming the first player from the 2013 draft to make it to the majors.

In 43 games with the Tribe, Crockett went 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He struck out 28 and walked just eight in 30 innings.

It’s not frustrating to be honest,” said Crockett. “I just got to improve my game while I’m down here and right now I’m going to help this team win. However long I’m down here, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing. If they need me back up there sooner or later, I’ll be ready.”

The youngster has had a few rough outings since joining Columbus. In 5.1 innings, he’s allowed 10 runs on 13 hits for a 16.68 ERA.

“I’m just tuning my mechanics back,” said Crockett. “I had a rough outing last time, so I’m just ready to get back on the mound and get doing what I’ve been doing. Try not to think too much when I go out there and just locate my pitches.”

Columbus pitching coach Carl Willis isn’t concerned that Crockett has been getting hit hard. Everything is just fine from his point of view.

“He’s doing fine,” said Willis. “He had a rough outing his last time out. I think the situation was that the other club got really aggressive and he admitted that his stuff was a little flat. He’s a tremendous worker and has a great feel for his own delivery, which is a little unique with his lower arm slot. He’s a tremendous kid to work with and is a guy who is going to help our big league club.”

Crockett is taking advantage of the opportunity to work with Willis, who was the Indians pitching coach from 2003 to 2009 and coached Cy Young winners C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Willis held the same position for the Seattle Mariners from 2010 to 2013, where he had Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez on his pitching staff.

“He’s a great guy,” said Crockett about Willis. “He hasn’t seen me throw much, but he’s been helping me as much as he can throughout these last couple games and in my bullpens. He’s a great guy and has a great knowledge for the game.”

Kyle is also enjoying the opportunity to pitch at one of the best ballparks in the minors, Huntington Park. In 2009, named it the Ballpark of the Year.

“It’s great,” said Crockett. “You can ask anyone of these guys, if you’re going to be in AAA, this is the place to be. It’s a great atmosphere and the field is great. They take care of us like big leaguers. We get good crowds even though it’s been cold lately. It’s a great atmosphere.”

Standings Update: The Clippers (11-13) are in second place in the West Division, where they trail the Indianapolis Indians (15-10) by 3.5 games. After going 6-2 in their first homestand of the year, the Clippers are riding a season-long five-game losing streak after dropping six of seven on the road against Rochester and Syracuse.

Francisco Lindor Watch: The Tribe’s top prospect struggled on the team’s recent road trip, going just 2-25 at the plate with one RBI and seven strikeouts. His batting average dropped from .302 to .239 on the season.

Nick Swisher‘s Rehab Going Well: In six games with the Clippers, Swisher is hitting .375 (9-24) with one home run, two doubles, and five RBI. There is speculation that he could return to the Indians this week.

Tyler Holt Called Up: The outfielder took the roster spot vacated by struggling lefty T.J. House, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation on Friday. Holt hit .328 (20-61) with 12 runs scored, five stolen bases, and a .438 on-base percentage in 19 games for the Clippers.

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