Pucetas works quickly in shutout

Frisco right-hander allows three hits while going the distance

By Jonathan Raymond / MiLB.com | July 16, 2013 7:08 PM ET

Kevin Pucetas made Tuesday's doubleheader opener about as tidy as he possibly could.

The Double-A Frisco right-hander allowed just three hits, didn't issue a walk and struck out four while going the distance for the RoughRiders in a 4-0 shutout of the San Antonio Missions.

"I think you definitely have that mind-set when you do have those seven-inning days," he said. "You want to be out there when the last out is made. When it's a little bit of a condensed game, it's a little bit more feasible to go the seven innings and get a complete game."

The 28-year-old hasn't allowed an earned run in two of his last three outings after a rough June that saw him go 2-3 with a 5.14 ERA. In May, he struggled to a 6.00 ERA.

Pucetas (9-7) credited his change-up with helping him achieve success Tuesday.

"I'd kind of been struggling a little bit with that, but traditionally, it's been one of my best offerings. Tonight I set out to get back the feel with it and my catcher [Tomas Telis] wanted to really establish that early," he said. "We got into a real good rhythm, I could throw it at any point in the count and that was the main reason for the solid outing tonight."

Pucetas is in his first year with the Rangers organization after signing as a Minor League free agent in January. After Tuesday's effort, he has a 4.51 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 29 walks in 103 2/3 innings.

He's now with his fourth organization in as many years, and this season, he said he's made a lot of progress working on an knuckleball.

"I threw it in a game last year with Harrisburg and Syracuse, and it's one of those things where I've got a decent feel for it in the game, getting it around the strike zone," Pucetas said. "That might be a potential offering in the future, I don't know if it'll be the near future but I think it's got some potential.

"It's still in the experimental phase, but the Rangers have been great with me. Our senior pitching adviser Mark Connor put me in contact with R.A. Dickey, so I've had a couple conversations with him, been able to kind of pick his brain. It's too early to tell [how it will develop], but I am going to consistently keep working on mixing it in."

Offensively for Frisco, Alex Buchholz went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored. Telis, Craig Gentry and Odubel Herrera delivered an RBI apiece.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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