Main anxious to toe the rubber

Regarded as an elite prospect both at the plate and on the mound coming out of high school, Michael Main has appeared in six games as a designated hitter for the Arizona Rangers. Lone Star Dugout talks with the versatile player, who will be making his first start on July 17.

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While the Rangers may be having trouble getting top pick Blake Beavan to agree to a contact, they have already signed one first round pick in the versatile Michael Main.

Main, who signed relatively early for a first round selection, says he was just looking to get his career started.

"I was looking to make an easy sign," said Main. "I wanted to get out and start my professional career."

One of the most versatile players in the nation, scouts rated Main as an elite prospect both with the bat and on the mound. The Rangers have started him out at the plate, but he believes he will eventually become a full-time pitcher.

"The main focus is going to be on pitching," he said. "I think they are just giving me the opportunity. If I were to come out and do something outstanding, then maybe they would have considered it. But I think after this summer, the offensive side of it will be shut down and the focus will be solely on pitching."

Though his days as a hitter are likely numbered, the 18-year-old is happy to be in the lineup.

"It is the kind of opportunity most players don't get," said Main. "You usually get drafted as either a hitter or a pitcher. It's a nice opportunity to get some at bats and do something. It is kind of nice right now because I haven't been pitching. It's giving me something to do because otherwise I'd just be sitting here anxious to start pitching."

Main has appeared in six games with the Rangers, all as a designated hitter. Though he was an outfielder in high school, he doesn't expect to see much time in the field this season.

"It's only a slight chance," said Main when asked about his chances of playing in the field this year. "They don't want me to risk my arm making a long throw to home or trying to make a diving catch."

A 6-foot-3 right-hander with a fastball that reaches 97 miles per hour, the Rangers believe Main's future is on the mound.

Main hasn't taken the mound since signing with the Rangers, but his first start is on the horizon.

"My first start is scheduled for the 17th of July, which is eight days from now," he said.

Even though he hasn't pitched in an official game, Main says he has been throwing regularly on the side.

"I'm out there throwing long toss and at least throwing a little bit every day," explained Main. "I have thrown three or four bullpens and I've got a couple more before my first start."

Having not pitched competitively since his high school season, Main went on to say he is just trying to get back into a groove on the mound.

"[The Rangers] have just let me get back into the swing of things," said Main. "They want me to work back to where I was and they're just letting me pitch how I always have."

Like most pitchers in the Arizona League, Main will be on a strict pitch count once he is finally able to take the mound.

"My first start is only going to be one inning and it is 25 pitches max," he said. "In my next start, on the 22nd, it is going to be two innings and 35 pitches max. It's going to be a strict program and they've had pitch counts with all the pitchers out here. Once those pitchers reach their mark, they walk out there and take them out."

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