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Appalachian League notebook06/25/2010 9:42 AM ET
By Bob Sutton / Special to MLB.com
Mike Foltynewicz was in a hurry to sign a professional contract, but he says he's in no rush to climb the ladder in the Houston Astros organization.
The first-round pick of the Houston Astros in the June Draft, Foltynewicz says he's comforted with the notion that he'll spend his first professional season in the Appalachian League as a way to settle in.
"I'm just going to get my feet on the ground the whole season,' said Foltynewicz. "This is real comforting knowing what I need to do."
An 18-year-old from Minooka, Ill., he features a fastball that heats up to 97 mph. He's slotted as the fifth starter in Greeneville Astros' rotation with his debut scheduled for Saturday night at home against the Johnson City Cardinals.
Foltynewic said he sensed Houston was particularly interested in drafting him, and the Astros backed up their interest by making an offer that was too good to pass up, so he scrapped plans to pitch for the University of Texas.
"I really wanted to come out and sign and get my professional career started," he said.
Foltynewicz received special treatment typical of a first-round selection. He met with media in Houston and threw a bullpen session at Minute Maid Park.
"It was pretty neat," he said.
Less than a week later, the differences were measurable. He threw on the bullpen mound in Burlington, N.C., in 95-degree heat prior to his team's game in preparation for his debut a few days later.
Foltynewicz stands 6-foot-5 and has worked diligently the past six months to add bulk to his frame. He weighs about 200 pounds.
He'll be limited to 25 pitches in his first game and will work his way up to longer stints.
"We're going to go slowly with him and build him up," Greeneville manager Ed Romero said.
Foltynewicz said he's on board with the pace of the development, even though it will be a change from his recently concluded high school days.
"They said they were going to take it easy on me," he said. "I'm going to stick right to [the plan]."
Picking right up: The defending champion Danville Braves were the only team in the league to go through three games without a loss. The Braves are starting the season with a six-game road swing. Their home opener comes Monday night against the Elizabethton Twins in a rematch of the 2009 championship series.
Out of pitches: Princeton starter Enny Romero pitched six shutout innings in the opener against Danville, but he didn't receive a decision after the Braves rallied for a 5-1 victory. Romero was working on a 75-pitch limit. He also benefited from three double plays.
Midseason form: Burlington Royals shortstop Alex McClure didn't play during the 2010 college season after transferring from Vanderbilt to Middle Tennessee State. The time off didn't appear to hurt the 11th-round draftee when he singled in his first two professional at-bats in the opener against Greeneville. "It felt good to even play," McClure said. "It was a bonus to get those hits."
Living in luxury: Pulaski racked up four stolen bases, including two by Jorge Agudelo, and benefited from six Orioles wild pitches in its 8-4 opening victory against Bluefield. The Mariners also took advantage of six walks in the game.