Suns’ Cole ready for second start tonight against Lakewood

Single-A right-hander A.J. Cole makes his second start for the Hagerstown Suns tonight at Lakewood, looking to build off of his season debut last week.

Cole went 3 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits with one homer on May 7 versus Lexington. The righty walked two batters and struck out three.

“I felt pretty good,” Cole said. “I could have done a couple things different. For the most part, it felt pretty good to me.”

The 2010 fourth-round selection out of Oviedo H.S., in Florida, talked about what happened on the home run.

“It was just a fastball I left up and out,” Cole said. “You leave anything up here and it is usually going to get hit pretty hard. It got hit. At first, I thought it was a fly ball, and it kept carrying. No big deal.”

But overall, it was a very special moment when he got the call from the Nationals that he was promoted to Hagerstown.

“I was really excited,” Cole said. “I was doing my time down in Florida for extended spring training and working on what I can do.” Cole said getting the invitation to pitch in Single-A was made even more thrilling because his friend and roommate Robbie Ray also got the call to go as well.

Cole says his location is pretty good right now and he is relying on his four pitches: the four-seam and two-seam fastballs, knuckle curve and changeup.

He says Suns pitching coach Chris Michalik wants him to work on, “staying under control. He wants me to follow straight through (my delivery) and not fall off it.”

Suns manager Brian Daubach says Cole was a little nervous for his initial start but calmed down as the game went on.

“His command wasn’t as good as (Robbie) Ray’s,” Daubach said. “He did get ahead of guys. Cole tried to over-throw a little bit with two strikes, maybe tried to strike some guys out. It was a good solid start. He stayed composed. He had a lot of base runners on. He pitched 3 2/3 innings and only gave up two runs, so it was encouraging.”

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