Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:09 pm
After allowing nine runs in a season-opening start for high Class A St. Lucie, Holt went 4-0, 1.13 in his next eight starts. The 33rd overall pick in the 2008 draft out of UNC Wilmington then limited Connecticut to two earned runs and two hits in 6 1/3 innings in his Double-A debut for Binghamton.
Holt, 22, said he then injured himself on a flight of stairs and didn't return to the mound for three weeks. "He throws a heavy fastball and he can command it to both sides of the plate," Binghamton catcher Josh Thole said. "And his curveball is phenomenal.
Thole acknowledges he still has work to do in getting fundamentally sound behind the plate, but feels like he's making strides, throwing out 30 percent of opposing baserunners. He also had only one homer through 256 Eastern League at-bats, so his power numbers can improve.
"My throwing, I think, has come a long way," Thole said. "I feel more confident, more comfortable throwing. Last year I lacked a little confidence in throwing. Now, whether I throw the guy out or not, I'm just working on just trying to make quality throws to second base—accurate and getting them down as quickly as I can".
The good news for Niese is that he seems to have turned the corner. In a six-start stretch from June 7 to July 5 with the Bisons, Niese allowed just five earned runs in 43 innings, improving to 4-6, 4.32.
"It was very frustrating, because obviously I would probably have had an opportunity," Niese said. "To watch that pass me by is frustrating. Right now I'm just trying to stay consistent and hopefully an opportunity arises."