EL notes: Marshall makes impression

Trenton righty pitching well, picking up pointers from Pettitte

By David Driver / Special to MLB.com | May 15, 2012 6:00 AM

Brett Marshall was one of several Trenton pitchers who benefited from the veteran presence of Andy Pettitte, who started for the Thunder on April 25 before making his much-anticipated return to Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

"It was great to have him here," said Marshall, a sixth-round pick by the Yankees in 2008. "You can pick his mind a little bit."

"It's always good for young guys to see how they go about their business," Trenton pitching coach Tommy Phelps said of Pettitte's stint with the Thunder.

But Marshall had met Pettitte before. He's from the same area of Texas as Pettitte, near Houston, and went to Sterling High School, which plays against Deer Park, Pettitte's alma mater, on an annual basis.

When Marshall was drafted by the Yankees out of high school, he got to meet Pettitte when New York played that summer in Houston, and the prospect also saw the big leaguer in Spring Training this year.

"He watched a little bit of my [pitching] video. He had some nice things to say," said Marshall, who has pitched well enough this season to make the Yankees take notice.

He pitched six scoreless innings May 10, allowing two hits in a 7-0 win at home against Portland and improving to 4-1 with an ERA of 3.27 over his first seven starts. In 41 1/3 innings, he has allowed 36 hits and 12 walks with 24 strikeouts.

"I feel good this year," Marshall said. "I'm just trying to stay consistent with everything. Spring training started out well, and we carried that into the season.

"One thing I worked on last year was to keep my arm angle consistent. I got that back to normal. Everything has been feeling good."

Marshall said he has focused on his fastball command and getting tighter rotation on his slider. Last year he was 9-7 with an ERA of 3.78 in 27 games, including 26 starts, at Class A Advanced Tampa of the Florida State League.

"He has really good stuff," Phelps said. "He has a power fastball with late life. He has a pretty good idea how to pitch. He is a great competitor. He has the stuff to get Major League hitters out."

Marshall pitches around 91-93 mph with his fastball, topping out at 94, and throws a slider and changeup.

Marshall is also pitching this year with a clearer mind knowing that his brother, Chris, is back in the United States after getting out of the U.S. Army last fall.

"He was in Iraq for 15 months and in Korea for a year. He was a football guy [in high school]. It is definitely a relief we don't have to worry about [his safety] every day," Marshall said.

In brief

Leon gets the call: Harrisburg catcher Sandy Leon was called up to the Majors for the first time after Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was injured Saturday in Cincinnati. Leon will back up Jesus Flores with the Nationals. He was hitting .319 with Harrisburg and is a strong defensive catcher.

Fisher Cats flounder: New Hampshire won the league title last year but was 14-21 in games through Sunday with a 4.26 team ERA. "You want to win. When you're in a skid like this, it's tough," shortstop Jonathan Diaz told The New Hampshire Union Leader. "All we can do is keep grinding and focusing and giving it all we've got."

Richmond loses Joseph: Richmond beat Bowie for the third straight time at home Sunday, but it wasn't all good news for the Flying Squirrels. Going on the disabled list with a concussion was catcher Tommy Joseph, who was hit in the head by the back swing of Bowie's Manny Machado on Saturday, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The No. 5 prospect in the Giants system, Joseph is hitting .250 with three homers. He is expected to miss at least one week.

David Driver is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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