For Ian Clarkin, the hardest part of his first start in over a year was the end of it.
"It was tough for them to take me out today," the left-hander said. "Obviously when they tell me I'm getting taken out I have to come out, there's no arguing with that. I was just upset.
"I know I'm not going to pitch the whole game, but I wanted to stay in there all nine innings and compete, because I just missed competing all year."
Compete he did, as the Yankees' No. 7 prospect surrendered a run on four hits and three walks and fanned two over four innings in Surprise's 2-1 loss to Salt River on Monday in the Arizona Fall League.
Clarkin was shut down at the beginning of the season with elbow inflammation and did not appear in a regular-season game. He went down briefly to the Florida instructional league at the start of the offseason before being added to the Arizona Fall League roster.
The 2013 first-round pick saw both good and bad in his first live-game action since Aug. 7, 2014.
"The walks are unacceptable," Clarkin said. "In instructs, I don't think I walked a soul. I'm not used to the three walks. I think I had them in some pitcher's counts, so I just need to finish those off.
"Otherwise, I felt great. My curveball, I was throwing it for strikes and my changeup when I wanted to. It's a great starting point."
The San Diego native will have several more chances over the course of the AFL season to build off his performance Monday. His next opportunity can't come soon enough.
"I can't wait," he said. "It's tough being a pitcher sometimes. As a competitor, you don't want to have to wait five days to pitch again, but that's just the way it is. I'll take five days to prepare the best I can and get after it again five days from now."
The Saguaros' lone run came on an RBI groundout by Royals' No. 5 prospect Bubba Starling in the third inning.
The Rafters' offense was buoyed by fifth-ranked Mets prospect Dominic Smith, who collected three hits -- including an RBI single off Clarkin in the third -- to lift his AFL average to .750 (6-for-8). Mets' No. 4 prospect Gavin Cecchini chipped in a double and a walk and scored twice for Salt River.
In other Arizona Fall League action:
Scottsdale 10, Mesa 6: Fresh off his performance in Saturday's Bowman Hitting Challenge, No. 6 Athletics prospect Renato Nunez bashed three home runs and drove in five of the Desert Dogs' six runs in the loss. Nunez missed 11 games in August with a hamstring strain, and Monday's showing was his first multi-homer game since July 7, 2014 with Class A Advanced Stockton. No. 13 Giants prospect Mac Williamson posted three singles and an RBI for the Scorpions. Game story
Glendale 4, Peoria 2: Led by starter Yacksel Rios of the Phillies, four Desert Dogs pitchers hurled six hitless innings before No. 21 Padres prospect Nick Torres led off the seventh with a single for the Javelinas. Adam Engel, a White Sox organization All-Star and the club's No. 17 prospect, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Desert Dogs. Gameday box score
Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21.