Pill Back Where He Belongs

Pill has a 1.76 ERA through three starts so far

Sand Gnats pitcher Tyler Pill has shown that he will be a huge force in the club's rotation this season. He is entering his first full season of minor league ball after being drafted by the Mets late last season. Pill was used as a reliever last season and said that he is ready to take on a starting role again.

"I feel a lot better about starting than I did about relieving," Pill said. "I like being able to control the game and flip things around with batters."

Pill said that he spent Spring Training preparing himself for low-A ball both mentally and physically.

"I worked on getting stronger," Pill said. "I wanted to build up my weight and get back in the groove and the feel of things."

Pill said that he felt "pretty well" about how he did in the spring.

"I worked on throwing strikes and focused on hitting the inside corner with my inside pitches," Pill said. "I also worked on my pick-off moves quite a bit."

Pill said that he has been working on his cutter more than any other pitch.

"I threw it in college so I'm just trying to work it in with my other pitches right now."

Sand Gnats manager Luis Rojas said that he is pleased with the way Pill's cutter is developing.

"His cutter is good," Rojas said. "Right now it's working for lefties and righties and I think he's gonna have a lot of success with it."

Sand Gnats pitching coach Frank Viola said that the cutter is the only pitch that Pill really needed to focus on improving.

"He needs to work on not throwing it too much and on keeping it consistent," Viola said.

Viola said that he has been very impressed with the way Pill has been developing and was very pleased with his first two outings this season.

"His debut was outstanding," Viola said. "He got ahead in counts and played really well."

Pill said that he was happy with the way that he pitched in his debut.

"I feel like I did pretty well," Pill said. "I threw strikes and let my defense do the work."

Rojas said that he has been impressed with the way Pill has started the season.

"Everything has been impressive," Rojas said. "His first outing was good and his second outing was even better."

Rojas said that Pill showed every pitch he had in the first inning of his first outing.

"That's not always what you want to see but he was able to change things up on batters and really catch them off guard later in the game," Rojas said.

Rojas and Viola both have big expectations for Pill this season.

"With his repertoire he'll be able to get through a team's lineup three or four times," Rojas said.

"He knows how to pitch," Viola added. "He prepares well and he takes it to the mound with him."

Viola said that Pill is finding out what pro ball is all about and that he's adjusting from a 56-game schedule in college to the 140-game schedule in the minors.

Viola called Pill "an intelligent kid," and said that Pill has the confidence to succeed early. Rojas said that Pill is an all-around great ball player.

"He can fill his position well," Rojas said. "He has a good feel for his pitches and he can really go after batters."

Pill said that his main focuses for the season are to keep the team in games and to have a winning season.

"I just want to help my team win games and make the playoffs," Pill said.

Viola said that he hopes he doesn't see Pill in Savannah for the entire season.

"I'd like to see him move up to St. Lucie or somewhere even higher," Viola said. "I definitely think he's good enough and that he has the confidence in himself to do it."

Rojas said that Pill will make a huge impact in the Sand Gnats rotation and that he should be very successful all season.

"He has all of the tools," Rojas said. "He's locked into this team and on winning a championship.

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