TRENTON, NJ – Eric Ruth admits he enjoys pitching in Arm & Hammer Park as a member of the Double-A Thunder.
“It’s nice,” the 24-year-old right-hander said after throwing six scoreless innings in Thursday night’s 5-2 Trenton (17-17) win over the Harrisburg Senators in the opener of a four-game series and seven-game homestand. “My family can come watch me pitch. This is just 45 minutes from my house (in Harleysville, Pa.”
The right-hander, who played collegiately at Winthrop, was in total control against the Senators, a Washington affiliate. He allowed just three hits over six innings to pick up his first Double-A win.
What also helped is Gary Sanchez’s first-inning double with the bases loaded that gave Ruth a 3-0 lead. A Mason Williams sacrifice fly pushed the early bulge to 4-0.
“When you get support like that, you really don’t want to give any runs back,” said Ruth, who walked four and struck out three. “It was a ice cushion.
Trenton manager Al Pedrique was quite pleased with Ruth’s effort, his second start for the Thunder after bring promoted from Class-A Advanced Tampa.
“I thought Eric threw an excellent game,” said Pedrique, whose team reached the ,500 mark with the win. “With the way things have been going for pitchers, with Severino, Caleb Smith and Tyler Garrison out, it was something we really needed.”
Pedrique thought Ruth’s slider was the key to his effort and the pitcher agreed.
“It took me awhile to get the feel of it (the slider) early, but it was working well for me tonight,” Ruth said.
Meanwhile, Severino is on his way back, as a blister in his right middle finger is healing. He threw long toss and will throw a side session Saturday.
“I’ve had blisters before, but nothing that made miss a start,” said Severino, who likely will return within a week.
The blister is nothing to be overly concerned about.
“It’s not serious, but something we just want to take care of,” said Thunder pitching coach Jose Rosado.
Greg Bird is in Tampa getting treatment for a sprained shoulder. Pedrique expects Bird back “within a couple of weeks.”