Trevor Rosenthal’s first big league appearance since August of 2017 didn’t go well. At all. He failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, couldn’t keep the ball down in the zone, and his outing ended after he’d loaded the bases and given up a two-run hit broke up a 4-4 tie.
“He couldn’t get the ball down,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the New York Mets rallied for four in the eighth and three more in the ninth in what ended up an 11-8 win for the visiting team in the nation’s capital.
“[He] struggled and kept everything up,” Martinez added. “When he’s effective, his ball is down, he just couldn’t get it there.”
Rosenthal gave up three hits and a walk, and frustratingly, was ahead in the count and at two strikes in three of the four at bats, but couldn’t put the hitters away.
“I felt like I was really close,” the reliever said when asked about struggling to keep the ball down in the zone.
“Making some good pitches, just getting ahead, and then those two strike pitches, making a little more competitive pitch around the zone, but mechanically I felt really good.
“I think it’s just continue to get reps and dial it in as we get going here with playing more consistent games I think that will all fall into place.”
Martinez said the 28-year-old reliever might have been a little too hyped up for his return to the mound in the majors following Tommy John surgery in 2017 and well over a year spent rehabbing after the procedure.
“He’s a high-intensity guy to begin with,” Martinez explained.
“I think he got out there and was just really letting it go. I know he touched 100, but it’s more important [to have] location.”
“He got a couple guys two strikes and couldn’t keep the ball down.”
Brooksbaseball.net had Rosenthal at an average of 98.3 MPH, touching 99.8, but he threw just 10 of 18 pitches for strikes, and generated just one swinging strike overall.
The positive takeaway? Rosenthal’s stuff was there even if the command wasn’t. It probably shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise since he walked more batters (8) than he struck out this Spring (7), but the good news is that he came out of the outing feeling good.
“Physically, there’s no concern,” Rosenthal said, “it’s just obviously getting some confidence going and get a couple under my belt and then just continue to work, that’s all I can do.”
Working all the way back from Tommy John but then struggling on the mound led to some mixed emotions for the veteran reliever.
“I was excited,” he said.
“It was a good day, good step forward getting back, but obviously it didn’t end up how I wanted it to, but I felt good, everything was good, just make a few adjustments and get right back out there.”