Like many first-year Minor Leaguers, Ty Blach's biggest adjustment has been getting used to a longer schedule and playing every day.
This doesn't mean the left-hander out of Creighton University isn't enjoying the California League. Blach, San Francisco's fifth-round selection in the 2012 Draft and MLB.com's No. 12 Giants prospect, has an 11-3 record and leads the entire circuit with a 2.95 ERA.
"I cherish my time here. It's awesome playing in front of the San Jose fans," said Blach. "The physical adjustment wasn't hard and my arm feels great. Mentally, it's hard to stay focused for every single game."
Blach has a 1.20 WHIP, and opposing hitters are batting .253 against him. But perhaps most impressive, in 119 innings he has struck out 109 batters while walking only 15.
Blach is part of an impressive San Jose pitching staff that also includes right-handers Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn, the organization's top two prospects, as well as fellow lefty Adalberto Mejia (No. 19).
"I learn from them as far as what they throw in different situations," Blach said. "We also have a friendly competition, and that makes everybody better."
Blach throws a four-seam fastball that tops out at 92 mph, and he said his curve has become a lot better over the course of the year.
"I think it's improved because I'm throwing it more, and more are in the strike zone," he said.
Blach, who went 19-12 with a 2.79 ERA in his three years at Creighton in Omaha, Neb., said he started playing baseball from the time he could walk. Though he played some first base and outfield while at Aurora (Colo.) Jesuit High School, he knew entering college that his sole position would be as a pitcher.
His last start against the Bakersfield Blaze on Friday proved a bump in what has otherwise been a very smooth road. Blach yielded six suns in 6 1/3 innings but escaped with a no-decision.
"Bakersfield always seems to get swings on the ball when I pitch against them," Blach said. "These things will happen, and I just try to minimize the damage."
In nine starts before that, he did not surrender more than two earned runs, blanking the defending Cal League champion Lancaster JetHawks on June 8, allowing just two hits without a walk over seven innings.
Blach said when not playing baseball he enjoys being with his family, including his father, Randy, and his mother, Karen, who is often his tennis opponent. He said his 15-year-old sister, Haylee, plays soccer and basketball in high school. Can she take her older brother in a game of H-O-R-S-E?
"I don't know if she can beat me, but she is good," Blach said. "She's an excellent three-point shooter."
Peterson has wheels: Jace Peterson, MLB.com's No. 10 Padres prospect, is doing well in categories requiring speed. Lake Elsinore's lefty-hitting shortstop has stolen 38 bases in 46 attempts and has 12 triples to tie Darnell Sweeney of Rancho Cucamonga for the league lead. Peterson is hitting .299 and went 4-for-5 against the Quakes on Saturday.
McKiernan starts his return: Eddie McKiernan, who saved 28 games for Rancho Cucamonga in 2010, is back in the California League with the Visalia Rawhide. The 24-year-old righty pitched for six years in the Los Angeles Angels system, reaching as high as Triple-A. He started this season with the Lincoln (Neb.) Salthogs of the independent American Association, where he had a 6-1 record. The D-backs purchased his contract in June, and he has six wins in nine starts and a 3.67 ERA for Visalia.
Movin' up roundup: The Colorado Rockies promoted third baseman Matt Wessinger to the Modesto Nuts from the Asheville Tourists in the Class A South Atlantic League. Wessinger hit .275 and stole 22 bases with Asheville. ... The Seattle Mariners promoted Ketel Marte to the High Desert Mavericks from the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League. Marte, a switch-hitting shortstop from the Dominican Republic, was 29-for-50 (.580) in 11 games leading into his Clinton finale. ... Corey Adamson, an outfielder from Bullsbrook, Australia, was promoted to the Lake Elsinore Storm from the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League. He batted .269 for Padres' Class A affiliate.