First, Tyler Badamo needed cleats.
The good news was that Badamo was on Long Island when the Ducks acquired him on June 29. None of his stuff was, though. The 25-year-old Mount Sinai native, who now lives in Miller Place, wasn’t pitching for his now former team, the New Britain Bees, during that week’s road series against the Somerset Patriots, so the team allowed him to travel home.
Before the Bees returned to New Britain, Badamo had a new baseball home. He was moved to the Ducks in order to complete an April trade in which the Bees acquired pitcher Elvin Ramirez.
Badamo had no time to waste. He was starting for the Ducks only hours after the trade was finalized and his gear was in Connecticut. “I had to go out and buy a pair of cleats,” he said. “I used a glove that I don’t normally use. I just use it to throw around and mess around with. I don’t usually use it in a game. So I was a little out of my routine, but I managed to throw pretty well, so it was all good.”
Badamo pitched well in a 3-1 loss to the Road Warriors, a team he had faced seven days earlier. He allowed three runs, six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in seven innings in his Ducks debut.
“I was happy that I settled in after the first couple innings and sort of found my groove and found my location for where stuff needed to be. I maintained it and kept them off balance,” Badamo said.
The Ducks are Badamo’s third Atlantic League team this season. He began the year with the Sugar Land Skeeters, struggled and was released before getting picked up by the Bees on May 25. He settled down with New Britain, going 1-1 with a 3.49 ERA in five appearances (four starts).
“I just got into a routine,” Badamo said of his New Britain renaissance. “I was a little more comfortable and got a few innings under my belt. It’s not always easy to start off a season, especially with a spring training that’s only a week or two.”
The Ducks, in need of a starter after injuries to Jair Jurrjens and Andrew Barbosa, were all too happy to let that renaissance continue on Long Island.
“I always liked him since he was with Bridgeport [last year],” Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. “I liked the way he pounds the zone. He’s a good competitor, he’s a good pitcher. He knows how to control bats. Nothing gets too big for him.”
New York is where Badamo belongs. After playing at Mount Sinai High School, he went on to have a successful run at Dowling College. He went 16-7 with a 1.60 ERA and 224 strikeouts over two seasons for Dowling and broke the school’s single-season strikeout record in 2014 with 129.
Badamo was drafted by the Mets in 2014 and played three seasons with the organization, either in rookie ball or Class A. After starting last season with the Bridgeport Bluefish, his contract was purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks and he pitched at three of their minor-league levels.
Now, cleats and all, he’s back where it began — Long Island.
“It’s definitely been an interesting year, to say the least,” Badamo said. “But I’m very excited to be here and I’m going to try and help win the second half. It’s nice to be a local guy and have my family and friends come to games when I’m here, so it’ll be a cool experience.”
Francisco Rodriguez was 2-0 with 13 saves and a 2.25 ERA in 20 appearances through Friday, allowing 13 hits and nine walks with 19 strikeouts in 20 innings.