Demny Has Success For Nats

VIERA, Fla. — After two full seasons at low Class A Hagerstown, righthander Paul Demny advanced a level last year and was enough of a workhorse there to give himself a chance at another promotion this spring.

At high Class A Potomac, Demny ranked fourth in the Carolina League with 144 innings and was tied for fifth with 108 strikeouts while walking 54. He is one of 45 minor leaguers at accelerated development camp in Viera, Fla.

"His slider had more crispness to it, and he blossomed," farm director Doug Harris said of the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Texan. "It's one of those things where you don't know which comes first, the confidence or the results, but his confidence just snowballed."

Demny dominated in his last four regular-season starts, going 3-0, 1.67 with 20 strikeouts and four walks in 27 innings. In his final outing before the playoffs, he pitched seven shutout innings in a win at Lynchburg to bring his numbers to 10-10, 4.32.

The postseason, though, did not go as well for the 2008 sixth-round pick out of Blinn (Texas) JC. He took two losses, allowing eight runs in six innings.
Demny, who threw 96 mph in predraft workouts and signed for $110,000, had been a 15th-round pick of the Braves in 2007 out of East Bernard (Texas) High before opting to go to junior college. His velocity was almost back to his amateur level at the end of last season.

"Paul Menhart made some mechanical adjustments with him," Harris said. "His delivery is really tied to his lower half, and he made a few more adjustments that worked well."

He gave up a league-high 18 homers last year, but he also improved his changeup and closed the regular season going eight, five, seven and seven innings.


• Hagerstown's ownership has signed a letter of intent to move the Maryland-based team to Winchester, Va., before the 2013 season, according to reports from both cities. Winchester has until April 17 to meet the terms, which would include approval of a new stadium.

• Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein joined his brother David in throwing out first pitches before Florida's season-opening win over Cal State Fullerton. The two were teammates with the Gators in 1996.