In a return two years in the making, right-hander Shane Watson returned to the mound for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws on Sunday night. Going 3 2/3 innings, the 21-year-old gave up seven runs (one earned) while striking out seven, walking none and surrendering seven hits. He was also charged with an error in the field.
Watson, who was the Phils’ top draft selection in 2012, has been sidelined since he went down with a shoulder injury on July 4th, 2013. He has undergone two shoulder surgeries since that time.
The visiting Hagerstown Suns (Nationals affiliate) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening frame and held off a BlueClaws rally, locking down a 7-5 victory at FirstEnergy Park.
Despite being tagged with a loss, Watson impressed BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams, who had not seen the youngster pitch before.
“This was the first time I’ve seen him pitch and I was very impressed with what I saw,” Williams stated. “I thought he threw the ball very well. If you look at the line, maybe not so much, but overall I mean it impressed me. No walks and seven strike outs. He had a good fastball and threw some really good curve balls. I mean, it was a nasty curve ball. So, for the first start out, I thought he threw the ball really well. He had some tough luck, but overall it was solid.”
Watson was quite pleased with his efforts and credited the coaches throughout the Phillies’ developmental ranks with helping him make a full recovery and getting ready to compete.
“I was really happy with my change up, my curve ball, everything was working good. Thanks go to the pitching coaches for getting me where I am,” Watson said.
For the BlueClaws, first baseman Kyle Martin, a 4th round draft selection this year, mashed a double and a triple to lock in his fifth multi-hit game in his last eight contests.
Along with Watson’s error, the Lakewood defense committed two other miscues in the field, including a remarkable throwing error by catcher Deivi Grullon in the first inning on what should have been a simply K 2-3 play, but instead, the backstop nailed the runner in his helmet on the way to first base, allowing a run to score.
The two clubs will continue their series in Lakewood when they go at it on Monday evening at 7:05PM.