Germen Focused On Better Fastball Command

Germen has a 4.43 ERA in July so far

BINGHAMTON, NY - Gonzalez Germen was promoted to Binghamton on May 5th, but after 12 starts, the 23-year-old has only managed to win half his games, going 6-6 with a 4.17 ERA. If he wants to successfully end this season, he is going to have to continue to adjust to the higher level of playing, and this mainly includes tightening his fastball command, according to pitching coach Glenn Abbott.

"I'd have to say that as a pitcher he has a great changeup, but he needs to get a control on his fastball command. That is the main thing he needs to improve on this season while he is with us," Abbott said.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Germen was signed in 2007 as a non-drafted free agent. After starting this season with the high-A St. Lucie Mets, where he made four starts, Germen was brought to Binghamton after Zack Wheeler was placed on the disabled list with a right middle fingernail avulsion May 2.

Germen made his debut with the Eastern League May 4, where his inexperience became obvious. Although he had a scoreless first inning, he soon lost control of the game in the second, when he allowed the Harrisburg Senators to score five runs, earning his first loss with the Binghamton team.

But the righty has improved since then. In his most recent appearance July 15, Germen led his team to victory against the Erie Seawolves. Although he allowed three runs on five hits, he had a career-high by throwing eight innings, retiring 18 Seawolves in a row and striking out three.

Although Abbott initially believed Germen received the promotion too soon, he thinks this experience has helped the righty develop the pitching needed for successes like July 15th.

"He probably could have used a little more experience before he moved up, but at the time he was the most ready of the guys to get promoted," Abbott said. "He's been doing pretty well. When he came here he knew he was going to be up against better hitters, and I think that forced him to adjust more quickly.

Even though his pitching has gotten better, I'd say his fastball command still needs work. He's still got to adjust and he's got to work on that command if he wants to see more wins."

First-year manager for the Binghamton Mets, Pedro Lopez, also thinks the righty needs to concentrate on improving his fastball if he wants to continue to move up.

"His secondary pitches are very good and what makes him a successful player is his changeup," Lopez said. "But he needs to work on his fastball command.

"He is throwing 90-94 mph pitches, but he's not quite getting it in that strike zone as much as he should. If he starts working on that command, then he can get more swing and misses and more wins on his records."

Germen is still trying to adjust to the new level of playing and attributes his mid-season promotion to the time he spent in the weight room during the offseason and the help received with his fastball during Spring Training Camp.

"During the offseason I worked a lot on weights; I tried to save my arm so that it was not too tired before the season started," Germen said. "A big part of the offseason I spent trying to become mentally ready for when I would be up at the mound. And I think I will take that, plus the techniques I learned during Spring Training Camp to help me get through the rest of this season."

But the number one thing Germen needs to end this season is a better command on his fastball. During his time in St. Lucie, Germen faced inexperienced hitters, which allowed him to ignore his fastball and develop his changeup. Now that the level of experience has changed, he will need to go back to basics.

"I am trying to work on my control and throw more and better fastballs, because I have such a good changeup. I need to work on my location with my pitches and be more aggressive on the mound," he said.

"I don't know what will happen in the future, but I know that if I improve my fastball, my future will only hold better opportunities."

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