Evan Rutckyj had an impressive debut with the already surging RiverDogs on Sunday, striking out eight, allowing only two hits, and giving up no runs against the Rome Braves.
"He was great," Charleston pitching coach Danny Borrell said. "He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes and he's got some serious power from the left side. Whenever you have that, you're going to have success."
Rutckyj was acquired by the New York Yankees in the 16th round of the 2010 draft. He spent 2011 with the Gulf Coast Yankees and was in Extended Spring Training for the first part of this season.
"He was very impressive. I saw him last year in GCL and he was a totally different guy," manager Carlos Mendoza reflected. "He had a great arm — but what we saw [Sunday night] was him attacking hitters with the fastball, he had a good slider, and he managed his pitches very well.
"I talked to him before the game and told him not to do anything different. I told him to do his thing, not feel pressured, and to have fun — and he did it. I just wanted him to feel like this was nothing new."
"It went pretty good," Rutckyj said. "I just wanted to not overdue it and stay within myself — and things went pretty well."
The 20-year-old from Windsor, Ontario, Canada felt at ease in his first start with the RiverDogs because of the great players playing alongside him.
"This team is loaded with prospects," the 6-foot-5 lefty said. "We have a lot of talent and it's good to throw when you have those guys behind you."
Rutckyj had every pitch working for him against Rome, which was ultimately the key to his success.
"His changeup was good," Borrell said. "It had a nice fade on it and some nice arm action. He threw some good sliders to the lefties and righties. He was able to get volume up and in the zone — and it's always good when you can control that 91 and 92."
"I thought all my pitches were working in my favor," Rutckyj said. "I was able to locate my fastball and changeup, and use the slider early in the count."
The coaching staff is excited for the opportunity to work with Rutckyj and hopefully win some games at the same time.
"I give him a lot of credit because he was one of the hardest working players on our team and within the organization," Mendoza said. " "He has the chance to be very special being a lefty and throwing as hard as he does. He's working hard and it's paying off."
Rutckyj Feeling At Ease
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