Potomac's Cole using nice mix of pitches to get results

Right-hander A.J. Cole has now allowed just one earned run in his last two starts following a no-decision Saturday with the high Single-A Potomac Nationals.

Last week, Cole was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for his six innings of shutout baseball versus Myrtle Beach.

Then on Saturday, Cole spun five innings, surrendering just one run on five hits with three walks, one hit batter and seven strikeouts.

Overall, Cole is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in seven starts with 41 strikeouts and nine walks.

The Nationals are thankful they were able to get Cole back from the Oakland A's after trading him out west last season.

And the 21-year-old has hit the ground running back with the organization.

Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said Cole is showing much more effectiveness with his stuff across the board.

"His fastball command is very much improved," Harris said. "The velocity is very similar to what we have seen in the past."

That is always critical for young hurlers as they try to set the table. Once you can pinpoint the fastball, then it makes the breaking pitches that much more difficult to slow down for. Cole is learning that now and starting to get results.

"I think his trust and usage of his secondary stuff has come a long way," Harris said. "His understanding of when to use his breaking ball and in what counts and in what situations is improving. He is more effective with his changeup than he has been in the past."

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