Lake Elsinore, Calif. — With Jake Nix making his first rehab start for a full-season affiliate, Lake Elsinore fell to the San Jose Giants 2-0 Wednesday night.
Nix stretched out to 65 pitches after two shorter outings in the Arizona League. Finally beyond hip problems that had dogged him the last two years, the righty came into the year expecting to fight for a big league roster spot. Instead, midway through spring training, he was shut down with a UCL sprain. Luckily for Nix, he avoided Tommy John surgery, opting instead for PRP therapy.
Pitching in front of a crowd Wednesday for the first time since the injury, Nix worked with a fastball sitting 91-93 and a lively changeup. While he gave up two hits, the only hard contact he surrendered was an RBI single in the fourth.
Before exiting with one out in the fifth, the 23-year-old struck out seven and got four groundball outs. He walked one and tossed two wild pitches on sliders that got away from Luis Campusano.
Nix is the third big leaguer to pitch for the Storm this week. Manager Tony Tarasco knows that gives his squad a unique opportunity to learn from players who have reached the highest level of the game.
“There’s a lot of things to take from each individual big leaguer who comes through,” said Tarasco. “I think tonight, you take away Nix’s ability to be cold – to be really steely about his nerves. He was just delivering pitches almost very robotic.
“We don’t want to take away the emotion when guys pitch, but we want them to be steady. He gave a great example of that tonight.”
While Nix executed, the Storm offense struggled to do the same.
For the second time in a week, Giants starter Matt Frisbee completely stymied Lake Elsinore batters for seven innings. After posting three hits against him in San Jose on the last road trip, the Storm doubled their hit total, but never managed any real threat.
“We definitely could have been a little more patient at the beginning of the ballgame,” said Tarasco. “We did hit some balls right at them and if they go through, we might be in a different situation.”
Shortstop Gabriel Arias, who came in with a mini four-game hitting streak went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the contest. He did rocket a line drive caught by left fielder Heath Quinn on the first pitch he saw and drew a walk in the eighth inning.
Before the game, the Padres promoted RHP Luis Patiño to Double-A. The organization let pitching coach Pete Zamora, who has worked with the talented 19-year-old since he came into the system, be the one to break the news.
Patiño, has dominated the Cal League through the second half, posting a 2.12 ERA over his last 10 starts. For the year, he’s struck out 31.6% of the batters he’s faced.
“I’ve been working on my breaking ball and fastball command with Zamo, and I’ve had good results,” said Patiño. “So when I go out to Double-A, I’ll do the same, working every single day. “