Jake Fishman of the Long Island Ducks.

Jake Fishman of the Long Island Ducks. Credit: Long Island Ducks

The thought process is simple when Jake Fishman steps on the mound.

Fishman, who pitched for the Miami Marlins last season and at AAA in the Oakland Athletics' system earlier this year, doesn’t think about his taste of the major leagues.

He doesn’t think about the back injury that sat him on the injured list for nearly three months this spring. And he doesn't think about how the Athletics released him just as he was set to return.

When the ball is in his left hand, Fishman is thinking about outs.

“My number one priority is to show that I’m healthy, and to stay healthy,” Fishman said. “The other aspect is just performance, just do the best I can, just try and strike everybody out.”

So far, he's done just about that.

Fishman hasn't allowed a hit through six innings of relief, as of Friday night. He's struck out 10 batters, and walked one. His 0.17 WHIP leads all Ducks pitchers.

“One hundred percent, it’s been an upgrade for the team,” manager Wally Backman said. “We’ve made quite a few changes. Our bullpen is as good as anybody.”

Among those changes includes Fishman, whom the Ducks signed and activated on July 25. The Ducks also added Sam Kessler, Merandy Gonzales and Jack Anderson to their pitching staff within the last month.

“Our bullpen is just so strong that any time we come out of the game and hand them the ball, we’ve got nothing but trust that they’re going to get us to the finish line,” Ducks starter and former Met Robert Stock said.

Stock played a role in bringing Fishman to Long Island. Stock, Fishman and outfielder Alex Dickerson represented Israel at the World Baseball Classic in March.

When the Athletics released Fishman on July 5, he said no one came looking for him. He called Stock and asked about the Ducks.

“I had nothing but positive things to say about the Long Island Ducks, and I told him it was a great place,” said Stock, who tossed the franchise's second no-hitter earlier this season. “Every time he goes out there, he wows us. We’re like, ‘Wow, what is he doing here?’”

Backman asks a different question, wondering how long Fishman will play for his team.

The Ducks manager noted that, while it’s late in the season for a major league team to grab a player like Fishman, pitching prospects in affiliated baseball may be close to their pitch count limits, and teams could be looking for a few more arms.

So, Fishman may end the season with a major league organization, and Backman wouldn’t be surprised.

“I think that he feels he’s supposed to be able to pitch in the big leagues. His numbers speak for themselves,” Backman said.

Fishman’s nearly sidearm delivery is unique, and the former big-leaguer slings it well. Backman said Fishman’s ability to disguise different pitches by releasing from the same point each throw reminds him, in a way, of how Jacob deGrom deceives hitters.

“Every pitch that deGrom throws comes right out of the same spot and you don’t know what it is. And that’s what this guy does,” Backman said. “It’s hard to pick up the rotation when it’s coming out of the same spot every time.”

Fishman’s goal is to play Major League Baseball again. But he’s not thinking about that when Backman hands him the ball.

“You may be thinking about that off the field,” Fishman said. “But when you get to the field, and you get to that mound, the only thing you have to focus on is throwing that one pitch in that moment.”

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