It's been nearly a year since Tyler Matzek heard his name called as the Rockies' first pick in the 2009 Draft. On Monday, he finally got his chance to take the mound.
The No. 11 overall selection in the 2009 Draft did not disappoint, striking out five and allowing one hit over five innings in his Minor League debut as Class A Asheville rallied past Greensboro, 3-2, in 10 innings Monday night.
Matzek, the first of three first-rounders taken by Colorado last June, walked four and took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. A year removed from leading his high school team to the state championship, The 19-year-old said he wasn't too nervous to slip on the Tourists uniform Monday.
"It wasn't so much nerves, but more like I was anxious to finally go out there and start throwing to some batters," Matzek said. "The first inning I knew I was going to be real nervous, but then after that, I was fine."
Colorado selected the 6-foot-3 southpaw out of Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Calif., after he went 13-1 with a 0.97 ERA in 15 games in 2009. Opponents hit just .144 (40-for-277) off him in a season where he led his school to the California state championship.
The Rockies signed Matzek with a $3.9 million signing bonus and assigned him to Rookie-level Casper in late August, but he did not appear in any games. He began the 2010 season in extended spring training with the Rockies, who wanted to ease him into the Minors.
"It was more building up my arm and getting ready for the five-day rotation," he said. "I'm getting closer to getting the five-day down and just working on getting my pitches down more, not leaving them so high."
Matzek recorded his first career out on his own, fielding a comebacker from Chris Wade before tossing to first. He struck out Justin Bass to end the frame.
The lefty popped up Kyle Skipworth, the No. 6 overall pick in 2008, to begin the second before walking Rand Smith, who was thrown out stealing when Tom Hickman whiffed.
He walked consecutive batters to begin the third, but popped up Jose Torres and struck out Wade and Austin Markel to escape trouble. He worked around a hit batsman in the fourth and escaped his only hit, a leadoff double by Chase Austin, in the fifth.
"It was good, I was a little nervous, but I couldn't ask for more," Matzek said. "I had great defense behind me, and we went out there and won."
Matzek saw his win disappear late when Greensboro rallied to tie the game in the ninth, but Asheville got the win when Kent Matthes was hit by a pitch and scored on Orlando Sandoval's walk-off RBI single.
Matzek faced 20 batters and was pulled after throwing around 80 pitches through five innings. He said he used a curveball and slider to complement his fastball, which he said reached 97 mph.
"I would have used my changeup in certain situations," he said. "I was letting a couple [pitches] get up, but I stayed with it. I kept the ball down when I needed to."
Matzek would line up to make his next start Saturday against Augusta.
"I'm still going to get a little anxious, but I'm going to have some confidence behind me knowing that I executed the pitches I wanted to pitch," he said. "I'll get more consistent with that, it should be fun."
Matzek said the Rockies haven't made specific plans for his first season and, at this point, he's just concentrating on getting acclimated and helping Asheville win some games.
"I'll probably just end up here, they told me in extended that there were no future goals," he said. "We'll see when the next step comes, but I just want to win, help this team to win."