Pryor Proving His Worth To Mariners

SEATTLE—Just like all big league wannabes, Stephen Pryor had visions about what it would be like to make it to the big leagues.

It's a good bet he never envisioned this. Promoted from the minor leagues on June 1 after 11 games at Double-A Jackson and nine games at Triple-A Tacoma—where he posted a combined ERA of 0.64—he was part of a six-man no-hitter on June 8. More than that, he was the winning pitcher and just the third player in major league history to get his first big league win in a no-hitter.

Things went from that incredible high to a nasty low when, after just 12 days and six games (51⁄3 innings, 1.69 ERA) he went on the disabled list with a strained left groin. And when he was well and had completed a short injury rehab assignment, he wasn't brought back immediately.

Instead, he had to start trying to prove his worth all over again at Tacoma, coming off the DL on July 21. And he did, stretching his streak of scoreless innings in the Pacific Coast League to 20 before getting called up again on July 31.

And to hear Seattle manager Eric Wedge talk about it, Pryor has proven he's ready for a test. So now he'll get plenty of chances with the Mariners to prove his worth.

"Pryor's been really good," Wedge said. "He'll be pitching meaningful innings for us."

The 23-year-old Pryor's fastball comes in at 97-98 mph and has touched 100. But for the batter, that's not the worst of it. Pryor spent his time in winter ball working on his cutter, and now hitters have to think about that.

"Obviously his velocity is really good," farm director Chris Gwynn said. "He's throwing that pitch for strikes, getting some really good depth on it, and it sort of acts as a high-velocity slider.

"He likes to let it all go when he's out there on the mound, and with that second pitch, it puts a little doubt in the hitter's mind. And in a strange way, that's really helping his fastball."

Not that his fastball needed all that much help to begin with. A fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft, Pryor has always thrown hard. But when he was teamed up with another flame thrower, Carter Capps, in the Jackson bullpen to start the Southern League season, all the talk was about the Generals' starting prospects—Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker.

But it's Pryor and now Capps who have made the jump from Double-A to the big leagues first.

"It's a good competition with each other," Pryor said. "We push each other."
And now there's a chance to do it on baseball's big stage.


• Outfielder Leon Landry, picked up from the Dodgers in the trade deadline deal that sent Brandon League to Los Angeles, hit for the cycle for high Class A High Desert against Lancaster on Aug. 3. With 15 triples, he leads the California League.

• Lefthander James Paxton came off the disabled list at the top of his game. In his first six starts back at Jackson, Paxton was 3-0, 1.95 and struck out 32 in 32 innings.