By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was a good outing for Lenape High School product Sean Black on Sunday in Trenton. The Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, native pitched six innings against the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate Reading, allowing just two runs on six hits for the Yankees’ Double-A team, the Thunder. He had to settle for a no-decision, but the Thunder eventually picked up a 3-2 win.
“Just trying to keep the ball down and pitch to contact,” Black told KYW Newsradio after the game. “It was hot out there, so it was trying to get yourself back in the dugout as quick as possible. There was a couple of innings there where I had a quick two first outs and then the third guy would get on. But for the most part I did a good job getting myself and the team back in there (the dugout), kind of not making them stand out there in the heat too long and wearing yourself down.”
A 6’3″, right-hander, Black was a 7th-round pick of the Yankees back in the 2009 draft out of Seton Hall (he was first drafted in the second-round by Washington back in 2006, but didn’t sign). After spending two full seasons and the start of this one with Single-A Tampa in the Florida State League, Black finally broke through to Double-A earlier this season with the promotion to the Thunder. Overall, he says he is pretty pleased with his progress as a pro.
“I think I’ve been doing well,” Black says. “I think this year I’ve really taken some strides from the last couple years, and I think the improvements are really showing. I’m just going to continue to go out there and keep pitching well and just see where it goes. All I can do is control myself out there on the mound and the results of how I’m pitching. So I’m just going to go out there, keep attacking hitters and I’m going to keep getting outs and hopefully good things happen from that.”
Since being promoted to Trenton, Black has made four starts with the Thunder, including Sunday, going 1-2 with a 3.43 ERA. Two of those starts have been in Trenton, and Black says it is a blast playing so close to home.
“Every game so far that I’ve been at home, I’ve had a huge crowd of friends and family,” Black says. “So it’s awesome pitching in front of them. It’s a dream come true to be back around here. Not a lot of people get to experience that. So it’s definitely something cool.”
Now 25 years old, Black is as close to the Major Leagues as he has ever been. He says at this point in his development, it is all about consistency.
“I think so,” Black says. “That’s the goal throughout every level, but now especially with the hitters being better, you’ve got to really mentally bare down out there, it’s not all physical anymore. That helps you, but it’s mentally staying focused in games and just going out there and competing. Going after guys.”
The Thunder wrap-up their series with Reading on Monday afternoon, then it is a few days off for the Eastern League All-Star Game.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.