The first taste of the Major Leagues for Naugatuck native Pat Dean lasted 41 days. The Minnesota Twins sent the lefty back to Triple-A Rochester June 17 following a tough outing against the New York Yankees.
In his first Major League win, Dean scattered four hits through seven innings and struck out eight to outduel Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. On June 12, Dean took on the hot-hitting Red Sox and shutdown Boston on three hits through six innings.
Being a rookie in the Major Leagues always comes with a learning curve, and Dean received a lesson in his last big league start against the Yankees. The game was delayed by rain for 35 minutes and it may have been enough to throw Dean off his game.
When the game finally started Dean labored through a 30-pitch first inning as New York jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The final numbers were 2 1/3 innings and seven earned runs for Dean’s shortest stint on the mound for the Twins.
Twins Manager Paul Molitor told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com after the game that Dean needs to mix in his pitches better. He threw four curveballs and eight changeups among his 68 pitches versus New York. He threw 16 changeups and nine curves in his outing against Boston.
“I can’t let things like that happen, where I let the game speed up on me,” Dean told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “I need to slow it down and keep in control of the pace of the game.
“I let this one get away from me. Hopefully I’ll be able to build on things I’ve learned and be back up here soon.”
Dean’s first start after being optioned to Rochester came June 22 versus Columbus. He started hot, scattering just one hit through four innings, before the Clippers erupted for four runs in the fifth and spoiled the solid start for Dean.
On Tuesday, Dean pitched against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Dean managed to get out of trouble, but left after five innings and surrendering four runs.
Game results aside, Dean was instructed by the Twins manager to work on the curveball and changeup in his latest stint at Rochester.
If Dean has learned anything during his 41 days under the bright lights it’s he can win at this level, and he certainly can strike out Big Papi.
The work in progress continues for the lefty. After what Dean has shown in his six Major League starts he will be back, curve ball and changeup and all.