Young Hurlers

Thursday, March 13 2003 @ 07:22 AM EST

Contributed by: Jordan

Yesterday's 5-3 loss to the Tigers wasn't terribly interesting -- Kelvim Escobar should have to run laps for giving up a home run to Shane Halter, and Aqualino Lopez got knocked around a bit, but it was truly rewarding to see Mike Moriarty back in action and scoring runs. Today it's Tanyon Sturtze against Randy Wolf -- and don't expect the Jays to light up the Phillies' up-and-coming ace this time around. But there's continued good news all the same.

Spencer Fordin's commentary highlighted two young pitchers about whom Blue Jays fans can start getting legitimately excited. Mark Hendrickson is still struggling with his release point, but he knows what's wrong and he's working on it. Tall pitchers unfold on the mound like a calliope, limbs poking out every which way, and it's devilishly hard for them to get their mechanics down pat. But even on a day when his release point wasn't good, Hendrickson shut down the Tigers (granted, it was the Tigers) over four innings. He's a work in progress, but progress is undeniably being made.

Even more encouraging is Corey Thurman, who continues to throw lights-out with a new slider and a consistent release point. Keep in mind that even as a AA Rule 5 pick stuck on the major-league roster all last season, Thurman nonetheless gave up fewer hits than innings pitched. With sharper command and a wider arsenal, he could be a revelation. The party line has always been that Thurman would pitch in AAA and gain more experience, and that remains the most appealing course, but Tosca hinted for the first time that Corey might head north with the Blue Jays. Just another example of JP's excellent eye for talent, and another example of why the Royals are such a backward organization. Corey Thurman is a player to watch.