Bullpen Notes: Vasquez Up, Mickolio to Reno
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
By Greg Dillard
The D-backs shook up their bullpen Wednesday, recalling right-hander Esmerling Vasquez from Triple-A Reno, and optioning right-hander Kam Mickolio to Reno.
Vasquez is a familiar name at Chase Field as this marks his third season with the big league club. He made his debut in 2009, and has spent the majority of the last two season in the Major Leagues. During that time, Vasquez has posted a 4.81 ERA in 110 games.
Vasquez enjoyed a strong Spring Training, but just narrowly missed making the Opening Day roster. He didn’t have to wait long, just under three weeks, before receiving the call to the big leagues.
In his first day back in the Majors, Vasquez took the mound in the top of the fifth inning and retired Skip Schumaker to end the inning. He threw another full inning, allowing just one hit.
In his lone outing for Reno this season, Vasquez tossed a scoreless inning without allowing a base runner.
The young hurler is pleased with his recent results and is excited to be back in Sedona red.
“I’m working hard and I feel more comfortable with my mechanics,” Vasquez said.
As Vasquez embarks on his third season at the Major League level, he hopes to continue improving and learning.
“Every year you learn more,” Vasquez said. “When you see a couple pitchers who have a lot of time, you watch and you learn. I take something.”
Gutierrez rebounds after recent struggles
After struggling on the mound in recent outings, allowing three earned runs in each of his last two appearances, D-backs relief pitcher Juan Gutierrez began to look like his old self on Wednesday night.
Gutierrez entered the game in the top of the seventh inning, and threw two innings of one-hit, shutout baseball against the Cardinals.
In his two innings of work, Gutierrez struck out three of the seven batters he faced.
“Gutierrez threw good,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We had him on the mound before the game trying to get him to not overdo it. He threw the ball great tonight, and located much better. His breaking ball was much sharper.”
In the seventh, Gutierrez allowed a leadoff double, but quickly turned things around. One batter later, he induced a groundout off the bat of Jon Jay.
The next two Cardinals hitters, Allen Craig and David Freese, were strikeout victims.
The eighth was a little smoother for the right-hander. Schumaker lined out to the third baseman Melvin Mora before Gutierrez received a fly out and another strikeout to cap off his impressive performance.
Paterson tosses scoreless ninth
Gibson called on southpaw Joe Paterson to take over the pitching duties in the ninth, and Paterson showed why he belongs at the big league level.
Paterson toed the rubber, hoping to provide a quick inning for his team.
“I felt good,” Paterson said. “I wanted to come in, throw strikes, and get us back in as quick as we can.”
Paterson struck out opposing pitcher Eduardo Sanchez to start the inning. Next up was Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus, who had already collected three hits in the game.
Paterson froze Rasmus for strike three and the second out of the inning. After Daniel Descalso singled to left, Paterson ended the frame by getting Jay to hit a weak groundout back to the mound.
It was another solid outing for the D-backs’ lone bullpen lefty. Paterson entered tonight’s contest with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances.
“It was good,” Paterson said. “I shouldn’t have ever gone full count with the pitcher, but it happens. My goal was to try and get guys out pretty quick. I was glad to go out there and pitch.”