While seven of Potomac's starting pitchers learned this spring they would be throwing fewer pitches than they were used to, Kyle Edens encountered a different problem: He needed to build up his arm strength so he could reach the 75-pitch limit imposed on Cannons pitchers.
A reliever last year and a closer throughout his four-year college career, the 24-year-old right-hander had not been a regular starter since high school. But this season he was selected to be one of the eight men in the Cannons' tandem rotation, which requires pitchers to throw 75 pitches as a starter, then return four days later to throw out of the bullpen.
"I haven't had to throw that many pitches in a long, long time," said Edens (1-2), who is scheduled to start tonight's home game against Winston-Salem. "Now I have to come back and do it again on a regular basis. It's been a bit of an adjustment for me."
Edens, the Reds' third-round draft pick in 2002 from Baylor, said he was placed in the rotation for developmental reasons.
"This gives me more innings to work on my pitches," Edens said. "If I'm coming out of the bullpen, I might only work one inning, and I'd only throw one or two pitches. This gives me the opportunity to work on all my pitches a little more."
The adjustment became even more difficult for Edens after joining the team late -- he started the regular season on the inactive list while dealing with a family emergency. Since being activated May 3, he has compiled a staff-high ERA of 6.27 but has 10 strikeouts and just three walks. Last season -- his first as a professional -- Edens didn't win a decision in 34 relief appearances and two starts, posting a 4.43 ERA.
Edens said he misses pitching out of the bullpen but realizes the opportunity to start will help throughout his professional career.
"In the long run it's going to strengthen my arm," Edens said. "If I get put back to the bullpen, it'll let me keep my velocity where I want it for more innings."