The First Game (Cont - 2)

Pablo rolled his eyes. “Do I have to remind you Jason has never pitched in an organized game? The first game he appears in has to be a non pressure type of game - a blow out. It doesn’t matter who is performing the blow out. We don’t want any pressure on Jason when he pitches his first game. That first appearance will also be no more than one inning. If it looks like the kid is struggling before he can finish the one inning he is to be removed immediately. If he survives the one inning, you can use him in any way you see fit for the remainder of his 19 innings of work, provided he does not pitch on back to back days or for more than three innings in one outing.”

Manny showed his disappointment. “It seems like such a waste to throw him in an inning that means nothing for his first game.” He figured twenty innings was better than none. “How do you define a blow out?”

“Ten runs or more.”

“That seems excessive.”

“Look – yesterday you were telling me how difficult it was for prospects to play in the Dominican. You didn’t want this kid.”

“Yesterday I hadn’t seen him throw. With his stuff he would be my ace.”

“He will not be your ace,” Pablo told him emphatically. We can adjust the run total as the season progresses if ten runs seem too extreme.”

Pablo had played with Manny Torriente in the winter leagues for Estrellas a number of years ago. They were the middle infielders, Pablo at short and Manny at second. The two of them, along with the father of Alexis Peguerro led Estrellas to one Series del Caribe appearance by winning the Dominican title, but they lost the Series del Caribe championship by one game to a team from Mexico. Pablo knew Manny to be a cerebral type of player who would one day make a great manager in the major leagues if given an opportunity. He was the third base coach for the Phillies now and this Caribbean assignment was good experience to groom him for a managing position. Pablo felt he could trust Manny, but he knew keeping Jason a secret would not be possible after Manny saw him throw. Manny liked to talk and his first loyalty was to the Phillies. It would not take long before the Phillies organization learned about Jason Woo. Once the Phillies knew the word would spread to other teams, just as it had with the Orioles beat reporters.

When Pablo next spoke to Larvell he was informed there was again some buzz about Jason. The Phillies general manager had inquired about him to determine who he was. “I want you to keep an eye on him. I don’t want anyone taking advantage of him, especially any of your Dominican senoritas. Just remind them he is not even a citizen so it won’t do them any good getting a U.S. green card if they target him for a husband.”

“I’ll make sure he’s okay. It will be very difficult for anyone to approach him unless they talk to John or know Chinese. I have yet to hear Jason speak a word of English. The Spanglish spoken here is probably a bit confusing to him”.

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