Jake Odorizzi conceded that things could have gone a little better in his Triple-A debut. They could have gone worse, as well.
The Royals' No. 4 prospect gave up three runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings Friday as the Omaha Storm Chasers rallied for a 5-4 victory over the visiting Tacoma Rainiers.
Odorizzi struck out four, giving him 51 punchouts over 44 2/3 frames across two levels. He threw 68 of 95 pitches for strikes.
"I thought it was all right," said Odorizzi, who went 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. "It wasn't overly great, it wasn't bad. But I was excited that our team got the win. I know I was in some jams, but I was able to keep the runs off the board in those jams and gave us a good chance to win."
After retiring the side in order in the first, the 22-year-old right-hander surrendered a leadoff homer to Carlos Peguero in the second. He yielded an RBI single to Luis Rodriguez in the fifth and a sacrifice fly to Chih-Hsien Chiang in the sixth.
Odorizzi issued just one walk but allowed more than one baserunner in four innings, escaping two of those spots without giving up a run.
"Really, you just have to bear down [with men on base]," he said. "You have to throw the ball where you want to. And sometimes you've got to get lucky -- hit it at guys, guys make goods play for you. I was just happy I threw it where [catcher Cody] Clark was setting up behind the plate and we had good results."
No. 18 prospect David Lough put together a big offensive night for the Storm Chasers, smacking a pair of doubles and driving in two runs. No. 2 prospect Wil Myers, who was promoted to Triple-A along with Odorizzi, went 3-for-4 with a triple, double and one RBI. Including his time at Double-A, Myers is batting .357 with 27 extra-base hits in 37 games.
"He's playing great defense, hitting the ball at the plate, driving runs in," Odorizzi said of the 21-year-old outfielder. "He's off to a good start and I think he'll be able to keep this up. He's really a special player."
Selected by the Brewers with the 32nd overall pick in te 2008 Draft, Odorizzi was traded to the Royals in 2010 with infielder Alcides Escobar, right-hander Jeremy Jeffress and outfielder Lorenzo Cain for former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. He has quickly climbed the ranks in Kansas City's system -- he started 2011 with Class A Advanced Wilmington -- but is not getting ahead of himself when it comes to that final promotion.
"It's there, it's one step away," Odorizzi said. "But you can't think about it that way. You still have to go out there and pitch and prove yourself. Someone's always trying to take your spot, so you can't relax even if you do make it. Just keep working and hopefully a time will come when you're ready."