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April 30. 2014 10:59PM

Starting

Newcomer Matt Boyd set to start for Fisher Cats


Oregon State Beavers pitcher Matt Boyd (31) looks toward first base during a game against the Indiana Hoosiers during the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park last year. (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Boyd’s Double-A debut got pushed back a night.

He’s thinking that might be a good thing and help settle his nerves a bit.

The 23-year-old lefty was pitching at Oregon State a year ago at this time and has been on a tear in the Florida State League.

He got in from Single-A Dunedin on Monday and was due to start against Trenton on Wednesday. Instead, the rain puts him on the mound tonight — weather permitting — in the first game of a doubleheader scheduled to start at 6:05.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Boyd said on Wednesday night. “I’m blessed the organization believes in me.”

Boyd throws a fastball, changeup, curve and slider and says his heater is probably in the high 80s, low 90s.

“I try to fill the zone with all of them,” he said. “I try to get ahead in counts, attack hitters.”

It’s been working.

“I haven’t really been checking his numbers,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “All I heard was he was off to a good start and wasn’t giving up runs down there and we needed to move him up. I said, ‘Welcome.’ ”

Indeed.

The numbers have been impressive.

In five starts, Boyd is 4-0 and in 31 innings has given up one run and 18 hits. He’s struck out 37 and walked five.

He credited the Dunedin defense behind him and the catching of Derrick Chung in helping him be aggressive and successful.

Friday, in his last start, Boyd went eight innings and allowed two hits while striking out 12.

Meacham, the manager at Dunedin last year, had Boyd for a couple of starts late in the summer after he moved up from Lansing.

“He’s not overpowering, but he hits his spots,” Meacham said. “The thing I liked about him was he was poised and ready. Maybe the best way to say it is he was very professional with the way he went about his work. He was about a month out of college and we were in a pennant race. The biggest thing I noticed was his maturity. He’s not afraid to pitch to contact and that’s not always the case when you’re starting at a little higher level than you’ve been in.”

Boyd was a reliever in his first three years at Oregon State and only became a starter last year as a senior. The Blue Jays drafted him in the sixth round of the First-Year Player Draft last June.

______

Tonight’s games are the final two of a seven-game homestand for the Fisher Cats.

They’ve lost two straight to the Thunder after running off five straight wins.

The Fisher Cats are 11-12 and Trenton is 16-9.

Shawn Hill, 32, and his third stint with the Blue Jays’ organization, is due to pitch for the Fisher Cats in the second game of tonight’s doubleheader.

He went six innings and allowed six hits and four runs in his 2014 debut on Friday night against Reading. He left the game with a 9-4 lead, but was not involved in the decision in what became an 11-10 Fisher Cats win in 12 innings.

New Hampshire hits the road for a three-game series in New Britain on Friday and returns to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium for three games with the Binghamton Mets starting on Monday.

The Fisher Cats then head to Portland for their first games against the Sea Dogs starting on Thursday.


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