WASHINGTON - There was something strange when Cole Henry took the mound for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators on Sunday.
And it wasn’t that there were some snow flurries falling in Altoona, the Pennsylvania home of the Curve in the Pittsburgh farm system.
“I had never seen Cole pitching against other competition,” Tripp Keister, in his second season as the Harrisburg manager, said on Thursday.
“It was nice to see him face a different colored uniform.”
Keister, a former University of Delaware standout, had seen Henry throw in Florida against other members of the Nationals.
The wait was worth it for Keister, who watched as Henry went three innings and gave up two hits and no runs with no walks and five strikeouts.
He was drafted in 2020 in the second round out of LSU by Washington and is listed as the No. 3 prospect in the Washington system by mlb.com.
Henry, a native of Alabama, had a WHIP of 0.85 last year as he split time between the Florida Complex League and high Single-A Wilmington.
Keister said Henry is slated to pitch again on Saturday for the Senators, who are home this week against the Portland Sea Dogs – a farm team of the Red Sox.
“I am excited he is here and getting him ready to go,” Keister said of Henry, who was impressive in the Arizona Fall League in 2021.
Another pitcher for the Senators is Mexico native Gerardo Carrillo, another top 10 prospect in the Washington system. He gave up three runs in his first game Saturday in one inning at Altoona then threw a scoreless frame at home Tuesday.
“Carrillo is making a transition to the bullpen,” Keister said.
“We have been taking it very slowly with him. He has a really good arm; he is well suited for the bullpen and he is getting used to that. He has a fastball, two-seam, cutter, curve, and change.”
Another pitcher that began the season on City Island is Evan Lee, who is on the 40-man roster along with Carrillo.
Lee was taken in the 15th round in 2018 by the Nationals.
He went 2.1 innings on Wednesday and allowed one hit and one run while his pitch count was high with three walks.
“Another 40-man guy who was late to Spring Training due to the lockout,” Keister said of Lee. “We are going to be very cautious with him; he missed a lot of time due to lockout.”
Keister has also been keeping an eye on local college baseball.
His son, Kevin, is a sophomore infielder at the University of Maryland, which has been ranked in the top 25 by several publications this spring.