Before undergoing Tommy John surgery, Brett Marshall struggled to find what worked at the professional level. During his rehab, however, he figured out how to work with his stuff.
"I was able to learn how to pitch more," Marshall said. "The rehab pitching coach down in Tampa, [Danny Borell], worked with me a lot on mechanics, watching video on days I was off. It definitely changed my approach."
While he relied mostly on his four-seam fastball before surgery, Marshall rediscovered his sinker after it. That pitch helped the Yankees prospect Wednesday as he allowed two hits over seven shutout innings in the Double-A Trenton Thunder's 1-0 loss at Binghamton.
Marshall, who lowered his ERA to 2.79, has given up two runs or fewer in six of his eight starts.
"I was throwing my sinker for a lot of strikes," he said. "I was keeping it down and getting groundouts and pop ups."
The two hits off Marshall came five innings apart. Juan Lagares laced a two-out triple in the second and Josh Rodriguez led off the seventh with a single to center field. In between, the 22-year-old right-hander set down 13 in a row.
"I'm just trying to come here and be consistent with everything," Marshall said. "That's one thing [Trenton] pitching coach [Tommy Phelps] and I had been working on -- just being consistent, repeating your mechanics and throwing strikes. That's one thing I've been able to do for the most part. There have been a couple games where I've rushed myself, but for the most part, I'm taking my time, keeping the ball down and throwing strikes."
Marshall fanned two and walked one while generating 10 ground-ball outs. He has struck out 26 over 48 1/3 innings this year, a facet of his game he would like to improve, despite the pitch-to-contact nature of a sinkerballer.
"I'm not trying to strike guys out, but for me, I feel like I could've had a few more strikeouts," Marshall said. "I'm just having trouble with two strikes -- maybe a slider in the dirt or changeup left up a little too much, and they're able to put it in play. Other than that, I've been happy with being able to throw all my pitches for strikes."
Selected in the sixth round of the 2008 Draft out of high school, Marshall put together a 5.56 ERA in his rookie season before undergoing Tommy John surgery on July 31, 2009. He has performed much better since the procedure, posting ERAs of 2.57 and 3.78 in 2010 and 2011.
Coming into this year, the Texas native kept his goals simple.
"Get to Triple-A by the end of the year and go out and try to give my best each outing," he said. "I'm not trying to do too much, not trying to blow it by everybody; just give my team a chance to win every game."
Trenton's Luke Murton went 2-for-3, providing the team's only multi-hit performance, while Binghamton's Jefry Marte came through with a walk-off single. Mets No. 16 prospect Matt Den Dekker scored the lone run after leading off the ninth with a double.