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More on Graham's Akron debut

By jcfortun Published: July 30, 2009

Connor Graham, the pitcher the Indians acquired for Rafael Betancourt, made his debut last night and I covered it in the paper. Due to deadline issues I was unable to get his thoughts into the paper. Here is the story that ran in the Beacon Journal. Thoughts from Graham and Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh are below.

The Akron debut of newly acquired pitcher Connor Graham didn’t last long Wednesday night at Canal Park. In just 3 1/3 innings of work Graham was still able to make a good impression.

“I really liked what I saw,’’ Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh said.

After walking three of the first four batters he faced, Graham settled down and shut down Erie, striking out five and limiting the SeaWolves to one hit before leaving with a blister problem on the middle finger of his pitching hand.

``He really threw the ball well,’’ Sarbaugh said. ``I thought he had, maybe little jitters the first inning. A little nervous, but he did as great job of getting out of that with one run. It is just a shame that he had to come out of the game like that.’’

Graham’s middle finger isn’t expected to be a lingering problem.

“I don’t think it is too bad,” Graham said. “Something similar happened a few weeks ago, so the skin underneath isn’t that tender as if was something new. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”

Trainers were originally called to the mound in the third inning and tried to shave off some of the dead skin at the top of finger, fearing the ball would catch on it. He made it into the next inning before the Aeros erred on the side of caution.

“He could have kept throwing, but it was a real thing piece of skin that came off, maybe a penny size,” Sarbaugh said. “I think he was okay to throw, but it was catching a little bit at the top where it came off. If you push him through that; then he might miss a lot of time, so we just wanted to take it easy with him. I think he will be okay.”

The finger issue didn’t stop him from blazing fastballs that reached 95 on the radar or busting hitters inside with a hard slider that sat at 81-83.

``He had a lot of life on his fastball,’’ Sarbaugh said. “I really liked his fastball.”

The lively pitch made his off speed pitches that much better, Sarbaugh said.

``It’s a good start,” Graham said. “I am not completely content with it obviously, but it something to work off of.”

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