WASHINGTON – It took pitcher Tyler Clippard, 37, some time to adjust to new rules at the Triple-A level this year, according to his manager, Matt LeCroy of the Rochester Red Wings.
“Clip started out really strong, then they implemented a pitch clock here in Triple-A and it kind of threw him for a little loop there for a while,” LeCroy told Federal Baseball on Monday.
“He had to throw a little bit quicker than normal, and I think that affected him a little bit but he is back on track. He has adjusted to it.”
In his first eight innings this year at Rochester, he had an ERA of 5.63 with 12 strikeouts in eight innings of work.
“His fastball is sitting around 90 or 91 and he still has the plus changeup,” said LeCroy, a former catcher for the Nationals and Twins.
“Hopefully, he will continue to keep doing well and get the call-up to D.C.” at some point.
LeCroy said the league gave teams a series and a half before implementing the new pitch clock.
“It is an adjustment for everybody,” said LeCroy, who grew up in South Carolina and has been a bullpen coach in the past with the Nationals. “It has been some balls called; you can’t throw over to first but twice. It is a lot different you know. Hopefully, they will make some adjustments” and figure it out so the rules are fair.
Clippard was born in Kentucky, went to high school in Florida, and was drafted by the Yankees in the ninth round in 2003 out of high school.
He made his Major League debut with the Yankees four years later, was with the Nationals from 2008 to 2014, and was an All-Star twice while in Washington.
The right-hander has bounced around to several teams since leaving the Nationals, last pitching in the majors with Arizona in 26 games last year.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said last week the club was still building Clippard up before they consider calling him up.
“Clippard just — not too long ago threw back-to-back days, the first day was great, the second day didn’t work out so well, so we kind of want to build him up,” Martinez said.
Another Major League veteran with Rochester is right-hander Carl Edwards, Jr. the native of South Carolina.
He has allowed just two hits in his first 8.2 innings this year and had not allowed a run or hit in five straight outings going into the series opener on Tuesday with Syracuse.
He broke into the majors in 2015 with the Cubs and pitched last year for the Blue Jays and Braves.