As it is for many recent Draft picks, Michael Cederoth's first professional season has been full of adjustments from college ball.
On Friday night, the Twins prospect allowed one hit over 5 2/3 innings in Rookie-level Elizabethton's 7-0 blanking of Danville at Joe O'Brien Field.
"I felt good. I mean, I think I felt effectively wild. They didn't really square up the ball well," Cederoth said. "At this level, it's a little different because college players, they were a little bit more disciplined than here."
The 21-year-old right-hander got ahead of Joseph Davis, 0-2, before issuing a leadoff walk to start the game. He said the first inning is his time to get a feel for the mound and the opponent, and he has a 6.75 ERA in that opening frame.
Cederoth walked two more batters in the third and gave up his only hit, a one-out single by Joseph Daris. He also threw a wild pitch but got Matt Tellor to line to center field and leave the bases loaded.
"It's very important, not just individually but for the team as it was a close game at the point," Cederoth said. "It gives the hitters some confidence and a little leeway when they get to the box, not so pressured to score runs."
The third-round pick out of San Diego State set down the next eight Braves before issuing a two-out walk in the sixth. But at 89 pitches, he knew his night was over, so he handed the ball to his bullpen.
Months earlier, Cederoth was the one coming out of the bullpen as the Aztecs' closer, picking up 20 saves and being named a finalist for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year award. After the Draft, the Twins decided they wanted him to return to the role in which he succeeded in his first two college seasons.
"They want me as a starter. They have confidence in me that I can be a good starter and I appreciate that, so I have been working hard to be a good starter," he said. "Experience is key. I also tweaked my windup a little, making my mechanics more consistent [and my] release point more consistent to throw strikes."
Over his first eight professional starts, the California native is 3-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 35 2/3 innings.
"It started decent because the excitement of being drafted, but my [pitch] count wasn't getting me to where I wanted to be, so I had to work and make adjustments. And I'm starting to see results," Cederoth said. "But just because you see results doesn't mean you stop making adjustments."
C.K. Irby allowed one hit and struck out four over 1 1/3 innings and Brandon Poulson and Cameron Booser each worked a hitless frame as Elizabethton notched its Appalachian League-leading 10th shutout.
Nick Gordon went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Twins leadoff man Jeremias Pineda singled, walked twice and scored three runs.