Nationals officials have never had doubts about the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Texan’s stuff. He was good enough to pitch in the Arizona Fall League last offseason as a reliever, but not consistent enough to be protected on the 40-man roster.
Still, Demny broke camp this spring in the Senators’ rotation. After six up-and-down starts, he pitched the bulk of a no-hitter on May 9 at Binghamton, with left-hander Ian Krol closing out the 6-1 win over the Mets. Demny was replaced after throwing 113 pitches.
“Going into that game, on the way to the park it was like ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Demny said in a phone interview Thursday. “It was kind of a boiling point. I have a good fastball and I need to stick with it, not immediately start with the off-speed pitches when things go wrong.
“Everything that could be said by a coach has been said to me, and all the coaches I’ve had have been phenomenal. It was on me to put it in my own head.”
Demny, 23, walked three and struck out five in Harrisburg’s fourth no-hitter in franchise history, allowing an unearned run in the seventh inning on a walk, his own throwing error and a double-play groundball. The next time out on Tuesday, he held visiting Richmond to one run on four hits in six innings while striking out seven and walking four.
“I was probably a little more thrilled about the second start than the first of those two,” Demny said. “It’s great to feel like things are clicking in your head.”
After the back-to-back wins, Demny is 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in his second season in the Eastern League. He has 43 strikeouts and 17 walks in 43 innings.
Demny still throws a slider and change-up, but he is learning to rely on them at the proper times. Washington signed him for a $110,000 bonus as a sixth-round pick in 2008, one year after Atlanta presented him with a similar offer out of East Bernard High School as a 15th-rounder. He turned down the Braves and went to Blinn (Tex.) Junior College instead.
“I thought I had cost myself by trying to throw too hard in my senior year of high school,” Demny said. “I didn’t want to go in that round. It wasn’t about the money. I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t a 15th-round pick.”
If Demny can eliminate what he calls his “little lapses in judgment,” he’s convinced he can remain a starting pitcher and rise through the Nationals organization. His next scheduled start is Monday night at Erie.
“In my own mind, I have the stamina to be a starter,” Demny said. “This year has been nothing but good as far as velocity and my pitches go. Even earlier in the year, I felt like I was pitching well. I just want to get back on the mound and show I can do it again and again.”
SUNS HEAT UP: Low-Class A Hagerstown has won five straight series and on Thursday night took the opener of a four-game set at Kannapolis, 10-7, as 2012 fourth-round pick Brandon Miller hit his eighth home run. The Suns (23-14) have opened up a three-game lead in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division.
Meanwhile, high-Class A Potomac (22-18) is just three percentage points behind Lynchburg atop the Carolina League’s Northern Division and has won 12 of 17.