When the Arizona Diamondbacks released pitcher Andrew Barbosa from their minor-league system earlier this season, a battle for his services in the Atlantic League's Liberty Division ensued. Barbosa said the Ducks and the Somerset Patriots called his agent within one day of each other, inquiring about what it would take to sign the 6-8 lefthander. Barbosa, 27, chose the Ducks, and the team is glad he did.
Through his first three starts, Barbosa was 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15 innings. He was taken by the D-backs in the 36th round of the 2012 draft and spent parts of four seasons in their system, reaching Double-A.
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You went almost a month without pitching in a game before coming to the Ducks. What was the most difficult part about that?
I wasn't facing hitters. I tried to go back to my old college, the University of South Florida, and face live hitters, but that didn't happen. For the most part, it was just me and my older brother, Christian, playing catch. Every couple of days, I would throw a bullpen to extend it. Sometimes I'd throw a bullpen, sit down for a little bit to act like there were innings. That was the biggest thing. You come here and you don't know how your stamina is going to be because you haven't pitched against competition. It's easy to go out and throw a bullpen by yourself with no hitters. There's a lot more going on when you actually face some hitters.
Were you surprised by how well you did in your first few starts?
I was. It's a lot different from throwing bullpens. I surprised myself. I just knew I had to compete. For the most part, I was going out there not trying to paint the corners or hit the black. I was trying to throw strikes and stay in the strike zone. My biggest thing is to try not to walk hitters. I hate walking hitters. Every pitcher probably does.
Why do you think you've had that early success?
I'm playing without worries. This is a game. A lot of times, we make it harder than it is. You can't be like that. You have to go out there and play. Every pitch is precious, whether it's us throwing it or the hitter hitting it. You have to take it one pitch at a time and I've just been focusing more on not trying to be too perfect. The hitter is going to get himself out. You just make your pitch.
Next up: Southern Maryland at Ducks, 1:35 p.m.