TACOMA — Pitcher Stephen Pryor struggled early in his first rehab appearance with Class AAA Tacoma before settling down.
Pryor is recovering from surgery in August last year to repair latissmus dors. He routinely threw in the mid- to high-90s before the injury and could even hit triple digits. He topped out at 94 mph Tuesday but most of his pitches were in the low-90s.
“For right now that’s what I’ve got,” Pryor said. “I think the velocity will come. It’s just going to take some time.”
Pryor, 24, pitched the ninth inning of the Rainers’ game Tuesday. He threw six straight balls and then gave up a single before settling down. He didn’t allow a run. His final line: one inning, one hit, one walk and one strikeout.
“All in all,” Pryor said, “I mark it as a good outing.”
Pryor made four appearances for Class AA Jackson earlier this month and posted a 14.73 ERA with five hits and one strikeout in 3 2/3 innings.
Pryor said he was nervous and too excited for his first start and that led to his early control problems. Rainers manager Roy Howell said Pryor’s velocity started to increase as he threw more pitches because he relaxed.
“Will his velocity come back to what it was?” Howell said. “Eventually. I think it will. But he can’t muscle the ball. He has to relax and let it happen. As you saw, he got better. And that’s what’s going to happen. He’s going to get better and better.”