Delgado Going Through Growing Pains

Missing the 2002 and 2003 seasons because of the infamous surgery that has claimed many a pitcher on their way to stardom, Delgado hasn't let it get him down.

Proof was in his performance on the mound last Wednesday against Huntsville, when he improved his record to 3-3 on the year in a 9-2 win. It was the right-hander's longest outing of the season as he went six innings, giving up four hits and one earned run.

Combine the Tommy John surgery with another injury-riddled 2006 season, thanks to a pulled muscle, and Delgado's been a haven for hard luck. Wednesday night hoped to be at least a step in the right direction as the 23-year-old's fastball topped off at 93 MPH and he mixed in an effective offspeed pitch into his arsenal.

"Today [Wednesday] I was just trying to work on my changeup," said Jesus Delgado. "I found out my changeup's pretty good today."

Delgado, one of the better pitching prospects in the Marlins' system, got out of a big jam in the second with the bases loaded. With one out, he got his counterpart Lindsay Gulin to ground into a double play to keep things scoreless.

Coming over to the Marlins organization in the deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston, Delgado is facing another test this year as a converted starter after coming out of the bullpen for the last three seasons.

He earned a 2.48 ERA last year in high-A Jupiter with 40 strikeouts in 38 innings to earn the promotion to double A in 2007. A former outfielder, Delgado made the move to the mound after signing with Boston in 2001.

"It's something new for me so I keep learning," said Delgado. "I can tell you I'm trying my best, but we'll see. I need to improve my changeup and curveball and just try to be a good starter."

There's been a few growing pains as Delgado's ERA remains over four at 4.09. He battled in and out of trouble all night against the Stars, but found his groove in the fourth inning when he set down eight straight batters.

"My arm feels great and I feel strong but my breaking pitches aren't there," he admitted. "After my surgery, I struggled my first year because I didn't have a breaking pitch, just a fastball. For me, it wasn't hard, it takes time, you have to work a lot and not get your head down."

(Photos exclusively Copyright © 2007 Nikolaus Johnson Controlled Images)


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