has walked a winding road the last few years of his career. In his latest turn, Correa landed in San Jose, a destination he knows well after pitching 42 innings in a 2011 campaign that put him on San Francisco's prospect map.
Correa came to the Giants organization in March 2009 following a trade from the Marlins. The right-hander has suffered through shoulder and elbow injuries his entire career and lost the entire '09 season due to his arm maladies. This gave Correa a low profile coming into the Giants organization, despite his top-shelf stuff.
After splitting time between Class A Advanced San Jose and Double-A Richmond last year, Correa was slated to begin 2012 in Triple-A Fresno, but he developed inflammation in his right elbow during the final week of Spring Training. It took nearly a month for Correa to get back in action, and San Francisco placed him in San Jose, an hour south of the parent club.
He took his return ticket in stride.
"I'm here to face more hitters and make my pitches better," he said.
San Francisco is also prepping Correa for a September call-up. That seed was planted in November when the Giants added Correa to the 40-man roster. He recalls being blown away by the phone call he received while at home with his family in Puerto Rico.
"I was really surprised because I had good competition with great pitchers," he said. "Now I'm working hard every day and working to make it to the big leagues soon."
After three relief appearances, Correa began his starting regimen May 18 with four runs over 2 1/3 innings. His next start was much better: four innings with one run and six strikeouts.
He approaches the change like all the other adjustments he's faced the last seven years of his career.
"I just play the game," he said. "I focus on attacking the hitters and keeping the ball down."
Correa's stuff has stayed sharp through the different stages of his career, and he was especially effective as a reliever with a fastball-changeup combination. He's working on a breaking ball as well, capitalizing on his fast arm action to work the slider.
"I use my changeup a lot, especially against lefties," he said. "I try to throw my fastball on the corners."
Through Tuesday, the righty is 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA in 14 innings spanning five games.
Correa is happy in San Jose with yet another new role. The 24-year-old may be too old for the level in the eyes of prospect mavens, but he's embraced his ability to advise his less experienced teammates.
"There are a lot of young guys here and I'm trying to help them and talk to them about situations in the game," he said.
A good Buddy: Inland Empire's Buddy Boshers has been nearly untouchable in the late innings of 66ers games. He hasn't allowed a run since May 1, twirling seven straight scoreless outings. Boshers is also a workhorse, throwing two or more innings in five of his last seven games. The lefty has 31 strikeouts in 25 2/3 total innings this year with a 0.70 ERA.
Sanchez soars: Rancho Cucamonga's Angel Sanchez won his second straight start May 24, throwing six strong innings against Lake Elsinore on the road. Sanchez struck out seven and walked one in one of his best starts of the year. The right-hander allowed seven hits and limited the Storm to one run. He hasn't lost a decision since April 20.
He's great: Stockton third baseman Tony Thompson enjoyed a good week at the plate that started with a hot stretch at home. Thompson smoked San Jose and Visalia pitching in four games, going 6-for-16. He kept it up once he hit the road with a four-hit game against High Desert that included doubles.