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Hellickson moving up after latest gem06/22/2008 9:36 PM ET
By Steve Conley / Special to MLB.com
Jeremy Hellickson established himself as one of the top pitchers in the Florida State League over the first half of the season but had pitched only two innings in the last 16 days heading into Sunday's start.
After picking up where he left off, he's packing his bags to take on the next challenge.
Hellickson allowed one hit over seven innings and ran his scoreless streak to 15 frames as the Vero Beach Devil Rays blanked the Clearwater Threshers, 2-0, at Bright House Field.
After the game, manager Jim Morrison gave Hellickson the good news that he'd be heading to Double-A Montgomery along with left-hander David Price, the top overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
"Jim just told me to come see him in his office after the game and said they were sending me up there," Hellickson said. "He [Price] sent me a text message, saying, 'I knew it. Congrats,' and I talked to him after the game. This was one of my goals to start the year."
Hellickson (7-1) earned the promotion by leading the FSL with a 2.00 ERA, 83 strikeouts and seven wins in 14 starts.
Against the Threshers, he allowed a one-out double to John Urick in the second and went on to retire the final 17 batters he faced. He struck out four without issuing a walk.
"I felt good tonight. I was getting ahead with the fastball and just throwing strikes. I didn't throw too many curveballs," he said. "The defense made a ton of great plays behind me and saved four or five hits."
The 21-year-old right-hander threw five perfect innings against Sarasota on June 5 but was forced to leave the game when a blister developed on his index finger. He missed his next start as well as the Florida State League All-Star Game, where he was expected to start for the Eastern Division.
"I've had three weeks off, so it felt good to get out there tonight," he said. "The blister's been gone for a few weeks. The trainer healed it up for me pretty fast.
"I've had a few blisters in the past, so hopefully, it'll be OK now. It was a little disappointing to miss [the All-Star Game] because you don't know if you're going to get another chance to start one. But I understood."
Hellickson went two scoreless innings in a rain-shortened outing against Brevard County on June 17 before Sunday's performance, and his scoreless streak dates back to his May 31 start vs. the Manatees.
Michael Wlodarczyk tossed two perfect innings to notch his first professional save and close out the Devil Rays' eighth shutout.
Ryan Royster hit a pair of RBI singles and Matt Fields went 2-for-4 and scored both runs for Vero Beach (2-2).
Former second-round pick Drew Carpenter (0-1) allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking one over eight innings in his second start for the Threshers (0-3), who have lost three straight.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.