By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One bright spot in the Phillies 5-4 loss to the Pirates on Thursday afternoon was a scoreless inning of relief by Jeremy Horst in his Phillies debut.
The 26-year-old left-hander walked two and struck out one in the 9th, keeping the Pirates off the board less that 18 hours after he found out he was headed to Citizens Bank Park.
“I found out (Wednesday) night about 11:30,” Horst tells KYW Newsradio. “(Iron Pigs manager Ryne Sandberg) gave me the call, the good news. So it was kind of a mad dash to get all packed up and make sure I was here on time (Thursday) morning.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Jeremy Horst:
Horst, who takes the place of Chad Qualls in the bullpen after Qualls was designated for assignment, was throwing the ball very well for the Iron Pigs – 2-1 in 26 games with 2 saves and a 2.11 ERA. He say felt as good as the numbers would indicate.
“I was working with the pitching coach down there, Rod Nichols, who helped me a lot. Working in and out of the strike zone and doing different things. I felt like I was having a good year, so far. Just preparing the entire time to come up here and do good.”
Horst was acquired in the offseason in the trade that sent popular utilityman Wilson Valdez to the Reds. He says the deal was not something he was expecting.
“I was really surprised. I was about a day and a half out from driving over to Arizona (Reds spring training complex in Goodyear) and then I got a phone call (that) said I was coming over to the Phillies. I was excited – a little bit sad to leave the Reds – but at the same time excited for a new organization. New faces to come show my talent to and to work hard and try to impress people. So it was a good feeling.”
While yesterday’s was Horst’s Phillies debut, it was not his first taste of the bigs. He pitched in 12 games last season for the Reds to the tune of a 2.93 ERA and he says that experience helped him get ready for this one.
“Taking from last year is not taking anything for granted. Every outing, every inning that you watch you’re learning and always trying to pick something out. Not let a day go by where you don’t learn something or try to do something to get better. Because you don’t know how long you are here and it is a constant battle to stay up here and do the best that you can.”
As for what Phillies fans can expect “stuff”wise from the left-hander.
“Fastball, slider, change, working it in and out. Might have some other stuff mixed in there, but I’ll keep that to myself. Just coming out and attacking the strike zone with two, three pitches if I can.”
Horst and the Phillies open a three-game series in Miami on Friday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.