Baseball is hard enough for pitchers when hitters are clueless as to which pitch they are trying to hit.
The job becomes nearly impossible when batters are tipped off as to which pitch is coming their way, but not for Minnesota Twins pitcher Kenta Maeda, who threw two scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, even as hitters knew which pitches were coming their way.
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Maeda allowed two hits on Thursday, striking out two and walking one, in just his second start since undergoing Tommy John surgery two seasons ago.
“I said, ‘Nicely done. By the way, something to note, they knew every pitch that was coming,”’ Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Rays hitters were tipped off to the pitches due to PitchCom device used by catcher Tony Wolters being louder than usual.
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Plate umpire Brennan Miller could hear the pitches, and after a conversation with umpires after the second inning, the device was adjusted.
Maeda made his return to the mound last Saturday against the Rays after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Sept. 1, 2021.
“Coming off of an injury for such a long time, I wanted to feel good by throwing a first-pitch strike,” Maeda said through interpreter Dai Sekizaki, according to MLB Network.
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His first pitch was smacked for a leadoff double, but Maeda was able to get out of a first-inning jam for a scoreless inning.
“Just a relief to be able to come back scoreless,” Maeda said. “And then once I was back in the dugout, the teammates welcomed me back, and that was a really great feeling. I’m excited to be back with the guys.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report