Yankees' Mitchell tosses up more zeros

RailRiders right-hander produces second straight scoreless outing

Bryan Mitchell started the season at Double-A Trenton, where he was 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com | July 27, 2014 3:52 PM ET

Twice now, Bryan Mitchell has been called up to the Majors, and twice he's been sent back down without seeing game action. The right-hander's eager to look at the bright side of that experience.

"It gives me confidence that they've called me up twice," he said. "They obviously think I can pitch there. Basically, I just need to keep proving myself here."

For now, "here" is Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and of late, the Yankees' No. 14 prospect has been doing plenty to make his case. On Sunday, he tossed his second straight scoreless outing, blanking Pawtucket over seven innings in a 3-1 International League victory.

Mitchell (2-1) picked up the win after striking out six and limiting the PawSox to three hits. He has a 2.70 in four starts with the RailRiders, three of which have been scoreless.

The only runs Mitchell has allowed came in a July 17 outing at Charlotte. The Knights roughed him up for six earned runs over four innings, slugging four homers in a 9-5 win.

The Reidsville, North Carolina native rebounded with five shutout frames on Tuesday at Gwinnett and backed that with Sunday's gem.

"I've just been pitching ahead of guys," he said. "I pitched behind guys at Charlotte, and that's a good hitting team that did what they're supposed to do. Today, I stayed ahead, used my pitches a lot more and kept them off-balanced."

Mitchell has earned two stints in the Majors this year but has yet to make an appearance. His first callup came in April, when he replaced Ivan Nova after the right-hander went down with an elbow injury. Mitchell warmed up in the bullpen with the Yankees but didn't pitch, returning to the Minors without getting another look.

His second callup came earlier this month as insurance for a taxed bullpen for the last game before the All-Star break. Mitchell was with New York for one game -- a rain-shortened, five-inning loss to Baltimore -- and did not pitch before being shipped back to the Minors.

"I was definitely honored both times," Mitchell said. "It was a great experience. Both places I went to [New York and Tampa Bay] were really awesome. Unfortunately, I didn't get to pitch, but it's been good to be back here for three starts in a row. I think I've found my rhythm."

His past two outings, Mitchell has begun deploying his curveball in a different fashion, utilizing it more often as an early-count offering.

The strategy worked effectively on Sunday. Mitchell threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 23 batters he faced and worked only three 2-0 counts while using the curve heavily.

"I'm using [my curve] differently," he said. "The main thing I was focused on today was getting ahead and pitching in good counts. [It's gotten better through] repetition, doing more work on my sides with it. I'm focused on the execution of the pitch."

Tyler Webb followed Mitchell and worked a hitless eighth before Edgmer Escalona gave up an unearned run in the ninth en route to his second save.

Mitchell outdueled Pawtucket starter and Red Sox No. 6 prospect Matt Barnes (5-8), who allowed two runs on four hits over five innings. Ryan Lavarnway drove in the lone run for the PawSox, who had a team-record 11-game winning streak snapped.

Jake Seiner is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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