D-backs’ Cahill, Skaggs struggle in first spring action

Mar 8, 2012, 1:55 AM | Updated: 2:22 am

Wednesday was the first day Diamondbacks fans got to see newly acquired pitcher Trevor Cahill and prospect Tyler Skaggs in action this spring, but neither pitcher left a good impression.

Cahill started the game for the D-backs and struggled in the first inning, as he found himself down three runs after only three batters. He gave up a single and then back-to-back home runs to start the game.

“I’ve never done well in my first spring training outings,” Cahill said. “It’s just a matter of getting comfortable.”

After a rough first frame, Cahill settled in and made it through two innings giving up four hits and three earned runs while striking out three before giving way to Skaggs.

“I thought he was really hyped up earlier in the game,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “The second inning he threw the ball better. It’s his first day out, but how many times can you say that? It’s time that we start throwing the ball better and swinging the bats better.”

Skaggs came in to pitch the third, but his performance made Cahill’s look like a bright spot, as he never made it out of the inning. Skaggs walked three of the first four batters he faced, before allowing a grand slam to Jack Hannahan that gave the Indians a 7-2 lead.

Skaggs would strike out the next batter, only to walk Indians pitcher David Huff with two outs. After that at-bat, Kirk Gibson had seen enough, as he walked out to the mound to pull Skaggs from the game after two-thirds of an inning.

“It wasn’t what I wanted it to be,” Skaggs told reporters after the game. “There’s things I can build off, but I’m not happy about my outing.”

In those two-thirds of the third inning, Skaggs gave up one hit, four earned runs, one home run and walked four on 34 pitches, only 16 of which were strikes.

After the loss, Kirk Gibson said the game was an “ugly” one, but he emphasized that even in spring training, players can feel a lot of pressure.

“In [Skaggs’] mind there’s a little more at stake this year, it adds pressure and pressure does interesting things to us all when we get in those situations,” Gibson said.

The D-backs’ top prospect summed up his performance by saying he had, “first outing jitters… I promise to be better next time.”

The good news for Skaggs is that he can’t go anywhere but up from here.

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