Orioles left-hander Tanner Scott has heard the same message since he started pitching with his electric arm — throw strikes, and you'll be successful.
As the 25-year-old left-hander rolls into the last few weeks of spring training, that’s being emphasized even more as the boom-or-bust nature of Scott's 2018 season carries into spring training.
“The first outing wasn’t so good,” Scott said. “I’ve thrown OK. Last outing, I had two walks, which you don’t want to see, but it happens. So far, it’s been good in ways, definitely.”
Scott allowed four runs on four hits while retiring one batter in his first outing, owing to the fact that he was either far outside the zone or throwing the ball right over the plate, but bounced back with three scoreless frames where he combined to strike out two and allow one hit.
He issued his first walk of the spring on March 10 against the Tampa Bay Rays while allowing three runs on two hits in that wild 17-15 win, and then walked two with one hit allowed in a scoreless inning Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
If there’s anything holding Scott, whose fastball sits in the mid-to-high 90s and has a wipeout slider at times, it's consistency in delivery that helps bring about that command of where his ball goes. Scott said that was the message early in camp from pitching coach Doug Brocail and bullpen coach John Wasdin.
“They're around when we catch, throw bullpens, playing in games, saying what you could have done in this situation, what to work on,” Scott said. “It's been great. ... They like my stuff, and they wanted me to hone it in more in the strike zone, be confident with my stuff, compete with every pitch and go from there. My slider is good enough, my fastball is good enough. I just need to trust it and find a smaller zone.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said as much after Scott pitched last.
“Nobody's trying to walk anybody,” Hyde said. “Tanner has got unbelievable stuff, he's got lights-out, left-handed, back-end stuff. Now, it’s just kind of honing in on command and being able to use your stuff effectively, being able to pitch a little bit unpredictable, but being aggressive in the strike zone. When he does that, he’s lights out.”
Scott said the message of throwing the strikes is one that any coach would give, but the difference now is some information and confidence that he can trust his stuff to not nibble at that speed.
“Just being more comfortable and trusting it in any situation,” Scott said. “0-0, 1-0, 0-1, anything. Trust anything you’ve got. That’s the big thing.”
Wynns working his way back
Catcher Austin Wynns, who has been out over a week with an oblique injury, said his mindset is to be ready for Opening Day as he ramps up his swinging, but said it’s “sucky” that he has to be patient with such a tricky injury and can't push it.
“It’s not the greatest feeling, but it’s just staying positive with this,” Wynns said.
“The goal is to be 100 percent — don’t go in there like 80, 85. I'm trying to come back 100 percent.”