Balazovic posts seven zeros for Miracle

Twins No. 19 prospect stays unbeaten in Florida State League

Jordan Balazovic lowered his ERA to 2.25 through four starts in the Florida State League. (Gordon Donovan/

By Duane Cross / | May 25, 2019 10:20 PM

Jordan Balazovic wasn't going to let a cut finger derail his day. Instead, he slapped some glue on the wound and went on with the task at hand.

The 19th-ranked Twins prospect gave up three hits and a walk across seven innings Saturday as Class A Advanced Fort Myers blanked Daytona, 2-0, at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

Gameday box score

It was the second time in four starts that the 2016 fifth-round pick hurled seven scoreless innings. He retired all 21 batters he faced, striking out a season-high 10, against Palm Beach in his FSL debut on May 5 after being promoted from Class A Cedar Rapids.

Against the Tortugas, Balazovic threw 59 of 89 pitches for strikes and fanned a season-low three -- two in the opening frame. He retired the first five batters before yielding a single to Bruce Yari. The 6-foot-4 right-hander set down nine of the last 11 he faced, a stretch interrupted only by walk to Lorenzo Cedrola in the fifth and a base hit by Drew Mount in the sixth.

"I cut my finger in the first inning," he said. "I have a knuckle-curve grip and I just didn't have a feel for it after cutting my finger. I was hanging my curveball.

"The fastball, changeup, they were good today. I had to back down my changeup; it started at, like, 89 [mph], but it began missing bats. When I got back in the dugout, I put some superglue on my finger and that didn't help. I had no feel for the curveball."

Blisters and cuts are nothing new to pitchers, Balazovic included. Having to improvise and make do while continuing to pitch is old hat for the 20-year-old right-hander.

"It's the third time it's happened. It started last year in Cedar Rapids," he said. "I just deal with it. It's not the most painful thing, but it throws off my off-speed pitches. Our trainer [Ben Myers] was the same one I had in Cedar Rapids last year. I told him about the cut and he just handed me the superglue.

"Sometimes I will grab the rosin bag, hit my finger with it to stop the bleeding. I didn't want to stop throwing my breaking ball, but the only time they were swining at it was when I hung it. It wasn't a swing-and-miss pitch today."

The Miracle gave Balazovic (3-0) all the support he needed in the top of the fifth. Aaron Whitefield singled, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout by Malique Ziegler. Royce Lewis --'s No. 7 overall prospect -- reached on a throwing error by Daytona starter Jared Solomon that allowed Whitefield to score.

Lewin Diaz capped Fort Myers' scoring with a solo homer in the eighth, clearing the right-field foul pole on a 2-2 offering from right-hander Dauri Moreta. Diaz's ninth homer -- all in the last 19 games -- was estimated at 423 feet. He tied the club's single-month record for long balls, shared by Matt LeCroy (August 1998) and Miguel Sano (April 2013).

Balazovic noted the first run was important for him and the team.

"We needed that. The steal, the error, it gave us a run," he said. "At that point, yeah, my mind-set was to start attacking the hitters. It was my job to shut the door, not let them back in the game."

Whitefield's stolen base was his second of four on the night. With 12 on the season, he's tied with Clearwater's Matt Vierling for third in the league behind Charlotte's Vidal Brujan (21).

2019 MiLB include

"When I went back out there, I had to attack the zone," said Balazovic, a native of Mississauga, Ontario. "They put some barrels on the ball, but it didn't hurt me. ... That's the takeaway from Cedar Rapids to Fort Myers -- better hitters. I have to throw my breaking stuff consistently to get them off my fastball.

"I work on pitches. I need to be able to throw my breaking ball when I'm down in the count, to get movement and throw it for strikes. I'm still working on off-speed pitches. I was able to get some swing and misses on the changeup today -- got them out front, rolled over the ball -- but the curveball is my go-to out pitch. I had to do something different today."

Anthony Vizcaya earned his FSL-leading seventh save, striking out two in two perfect innings.

Solomon (0-1) took the loss in his first start since being promoted from Class A Dayton. He allowed an unearned run on three hits and two walks while equaling his season high with seven strikeouts over six frames.

Duane Cross is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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