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Fisher Cats' Borucki a cool customer

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 17. 2017 12:50AM

Fisher Cats' pitcher Ryan Borucki warms up at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER -- Ryan Borucki can admit it. He had some butterflies heading into his first Double-A start, pitching against the top team in the Eastern League.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats left-hander has not felt those nerves since, however.

Borucki tossed seven scoreless innings to lead the Fisher Cats to a 2-1 road triumph over the Trenton Thunder on July 23, three days after receiving his call up. The Mundelein, Ill., native struck out Jorge Mateo to record his first out of and has felt at ease ever since.

Borucki did not get the win that night but he allowed two hits and two walks and struck out four batters. His performance helped New Hampshire record just its third win in 21 games against Trenton.

“When I struck (Mateo) out to start the game, I finally took a deep breath and was like ‘OK, got it over with. Got that first hitter out. Let’s just go out and pitch now,’” Borucki said before New Hampshire hosted the Hartford Yard Goats Wednesday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Borucki, Toronto’s No. 14 prospect, according to MLB.com, has done more than pitch since that start. He has shown few signs of growing pains while getting used to the Double-A level.

Borucki is 1-3 over five starts with the Fisher Cats with a 2.16 ERA and 30 strikeouts. The 23-year-old has allowed eight earned runs on 23 hits and six walks over 33 ⅓ innings. Borucki worked six scoreless innings before giving up four earned runs in the seventh inning in New Hampshire’s 6-1 loss to Hartford Tuesday night.

The Mundelein High School graduate credited his numbers since arriving in Manchester to mixing up his pitches well and the development of his slider. He also throws a fastball and a changeup.

“Changeup is my best pitch,” Borucki said. “It keeps hitters off-balance but I’ve really been controlling the outside part of the plate with my fastball and (changeup) and throwing my slider consistently for strikes and for putouts. That was a pitch I never really had until about a month ago. Right before I moved up here I finally figured out the slider.”

Borucki said it’s cool to know he’s just a call away from joining the Blue Jays and is enjoying the new challenges that Double-A presents.

Borucki has overcome his share of challenges throughout his career.

Borucki missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In 2015, he pitched just 5 ⅔ innings before having clean-up surgery. Borucki said it was tough to power through rehab both times but the upbeat attitude he’s always had helped him through it.

“I don’t really dwell or come to the field unhappy or in a bad mood,” Borucki said. “I was always looking forward to something. That was the biggest key for me.”

With the surgeries behind him, Borucki recorded an 11-8 record with a 4.18 ERA over his time with Class A Lansing (Mich.) and Advanced-A Dunedin (Fla.) last year. He logged a 6-5 record with a 3.58 ERA over 19 games with Dunedin before coming to New Hampshire this season.

Borucki feels his growth last season has helped him reach the point he is at in his career. The hurler changed his delivery, stayed healthy, pitched well and gained confidence he carried into this season.

“I think last year was my best year for development purposes,” Borucki said. “Performance-wise, I think I’ve done my best this year but for the pitcher I am now, if last year didn’t happen I don’t know if I’d be in this situation that I am in right now.”

ahall@unionleader.com



Fisher Cats Manchester

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