Turley Continues To Settle In

TRENTON, NJ - Halfway through his first full season at the Double-A level, left-hander Nik Turley has had some ups and downs. Turley, however, has continued to make a number of adjustments in order to improve his abilities on the mound and it shows up in gems like the one he tossed on Thursday night.

"Since the beginning of the year I think I've smoothed some things out," Turley said prior to Thursday's seven shutout innings. "It's just a long process, and almost halfway through the year I'm still working on some stuff.

"I never want to say I've settled in, but I definitely feel that I can do well here for sure. There's always adjustments to be made, and I still feel like I need to make some adjustments on my own."

Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin has remained confident that his lefty pitcher is adjusting just fine to Double-A baseball and will continue to be one of the top pitchers in the Thunder rotation.

"Like I said with Tyler (Austin), it takes some adjustments," Franklin said. "You can see Nik's ability to throw the baseball, you can his ability to spin the curveball, you can see the ability with his pickoff move.

"What you don't see is his day-to-day progress as far as his command of his pitches and the sequences of the pitches he throws to hitters. He has definitely gotten better at that.

"The most important thing is that Nik's made progress and has gone through the process quite well, and the numbers don't tell the whole story. The fact of the matter is if these guy's are making progress then the organization will be pretty happy."

On the field, Thunder pitching coach Tommy Phelps has noticed several changes in Turley's mechanics, especially as of late.

"He's been making some delivery adjustments, but has also improved his mental approach," Phelps said, "and has been attacking hitters much better than in the beginning of the year."

As for enhancing his pitching repertoire, Turley says he has been working on a slider this year, as well as last year, to go along with his solid fastball-curveball-changeup combination.

"It's a new pitch for me and I started throwing it last year," Turley said. "I've been trying to add it to my arsenal, and I probably use it about 8-10 times a game. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to use it more as a strikeout pitch against hitters."

Phelps believes this slider has come a long way and has become a pretty solid pitch for him in short order.

"Nik's been using it for lefties and righties, and it's been effective for him," Phelps said. "It's been something he can use to get back into counts, as well as putting hitters away, so it's definitely coming along."

Another major adjustment Turley has been working on this season is not letting his emotions get the best of him during games, and making sure he stays under control.

"There have definitely been a couple times this year where it's been real tough to hold it back, but that's just part of the game," Turley said. "Emotions are part of the game, and you have to learn to control them when things don't go your way."

Working on his emotions is definitely something Franklin believes Turley has done well, and knows that they are just a part of the game.

"Nik's a pretty mild-mannered guy," Franklin said. "It's great to have a slow heartbeat in this game and it's good that he doesn't get excited about too many things because you have to process a lot of information in a short period of time, particularly when you are pitching."

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