For the second time this season, Lakota West graduate Matt Klinker has been demoted to the Cincinnati Reds’ AA team, the Carolina Mudcats, after the organization’s AAA team had to make room for a rehab assignment for Homer Bailey.
Klinker, who was invited to the Reds big league camp this spring and began the year with the AAA Louisville Bats, was also sent down to AA when Bailey and Johnny Cueto made rehab stints in late April. Last year, Klinker was shuttled from Carolina and Louisville on three separate occasions.
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“You can’t take it personally. You can’t think that you are getting sent down because of performance issues,” Klinker said. “It is kind of a numbers game and when you are that guy on the bubble then it is probably going to happen.
“You get shuttled down and when Homer is back and healthy then I could get shuttled back to Louisville … you just have to make the best of it.”
Recently, Klinker has made the best of it and is pitching well in Louisville and in Carolina.
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For the Bats, in two recent starts (May 30, June 4), Klinker has gone 12 innings, allowing only four runs (2.99 earned run average), has struck out seven and walked only two batters.
The 6-foot-4 right-handed Klinker credits some of his recent success to his cutter, which is a new pitch he has added to his arsenal this season. He also has a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball (sinker), a changeup and a curve ball. His four seamer tops out at 94 mph, while his curve travels around 70 mph.
“My cutter was really my go-to pitch in my two starts in Louisville,” Klinker said. “I thought, if I could take this pitch to AA then I should have a lot of success.”
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Using his new cutter, Klinker has performed well in his last two starts (June 10, June 15) in Carolina, throwing 11 innings, allowing only two runs (1.64 ERA), has struck out four and walked only three.
Overall, Klinker has performed well in Carolina and has held opponents to a .231 batting average in a total 45 innings of work. Prior to his most recent call-up to Louisville in late May, Klinker actually pitched well enough to be nominated for the Southern League AA All-Star team. Due to being shuttled back and forth, Klinker is now unsure if he still has a spot on the team. The game is scheduled for June 21.
(WestChesterBuzz.com will interview pitcher Matt Klinker each month this season while he pursues his dream of becoming a Major League Baseball pitcher)
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