BRADENTON, Fla. - Given the nod to start Pittsburgh's second spring training game of 2018, Nick Kingham picked up where he left off from his final 2017 start with two scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on Saturday at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.
Kingham flourished down the stretch last year for Indianapolis going 6-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his final eight regular season starts. He then carried the weight in the Tribe's first-ever playoff shutout at Victory Field, a 5-0 win over Durham, who later won the Triple-A National Championship.
Kingham fielded questions from media following his scoreless appearance.
On returning to the mound and getting his feet back under him:
"Felt real good. Nice warm day, got loose easily. It was good to get back out there and get some feedback from the hitters, not just live BPs with the tunnel and 'L' screen in front of you. It felt like the ball was coming out good, had good command…overall I'm really happy with it.
On what he took into the offseason that he wanted to improve or focus on:
"Consistency on all three pitches. If I'm throwing a fastball, I want to be able to put it where I want. Same with my changeup and my curveball. I don't want to be spraying things from going in, I don't want to be missing away or over the plate, I want to be missing in. I'm just trying to be more consistent on putting the ball where I want and commanding the ball better.
On his strong finish to 2017 and what he took from that experience:
"I just trusted myself more instead of trying to be too perfect. I let the hitter get themselves out because most of the time they are going to do that. Hitting is hard; we [the pitchers] have to hit so I know. That was the biggest thing, not being too perfect, just go out there and here it is, hit it. There are eight guys behind me who are going to help me out."
On seeing the Yankees lineup and not getting to face Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton:
"I didn't know what to expect. I'm never disappointed to get out there, take the mound and face another team. Whoever steps up [to the plate], I'm playing against myself. Doesn't matter who's up there, if I throw a fastball away to [Aaron] Judge or if I throw a fastball to anybody else standing in, it's up to me. I have to do what I can to get myself ready and get myself better."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.