Minor league pitching instructors spend their lives drilling the importance of fastball command into the heads of their young pitchers. For Athletics righthander A.J. Griffin, that's never been a problem.
Griffin, 24, used his strike-throwing ability yesterday to throw a rare nine-inning complete game for Triple-A Sacramento, allowing one run and six hits without issuing a walk and striking out six. He threw 72 strikes in 93 pitches and gathered 14 groundouts.
Given his polish, there's a reasonable chance Griffin could be looking at a major league promotion after the all-star break. He has a 2.78 ERA in 45 1/3 innings in Triple-A, with 38 strikeouts and six walks after posting a 2.49 ERA in 43 1/3 innings with Double-A Midland to start the year. The fastball is average, but he spots it well and has an out pitch in his above-average changeup, so he could slide into the back or eventually the middle of a big league rotation very soon.