Kentuckians in the minors

Former EKU star Friedrich turns a corner

April 12, 2012 

Rockies 2012 Baseball

This is a 2012 photo of Christian Friedrich of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. This image reflects the Colorado Rockies active roster as of Feb. 28, 2012 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

DARRON CUMMINGS — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Christian Friedrich, a former Eastern Kentucky standout who is one of the top prospects in the Colorado Rockies' organization, gave up two hits over 71⁄3 shutout innings in Triple-A Colorado Springs' 2-0 shutout of the Tacoma Rainers on Tuesday night.

"(Catcher Wil) Nieves and I were on the same page more than I feel like I've ever been," said Friedrich, who allowed four runs over five innings in his first start of the season. "I was confident in what he threw down. I probably only shook him off once, and that wasn't the right thing to do. I was confident in my fastball on both sides of the plate."

Though the game was close throughout, Friedrich told MILB.com that he enjoyed playing in that type of contest.

"I think it makes it a lot more fun," he said. "Our whole team was in the game, and some of our guys made huge plays for me."

The 25th overall pick in the 2008 draft, Friedrich has had his struggles the past two seasons. He had a 5.05 ERA in 18 Double-A starts in 2010, then put together a 5.00 ERA in 25 outings at that level last year. He said he has modified his approach somewhat this season.

"(Manager) Stu Cole was saying that he was in Double-A one year and got sent back there, and you take it personally," Friedrich said. "And you tell yourself that's not you, that's not how you play the game. I've definitely taken that into this year, knowing I'm not a fine pitcher. I'm a guy that the more aggressive I am, the more successful I am."

For the rest of the season, Friedrich told the Web site that he wants to maintain that aggressive attitude.

"I just want to keep the mentality I had (Tuesday) and to keep learning," he said. "Try to stay the course that I put myself on this off-season, and I cannot let off the gas."

■ James Paxton, a Mariners prospect who played for the University of Kentucky, struck out seven batters in an abbreviated 42⁄3-inning start for Double-A Jackson. He was lifted after 88 pitches but only gave up one run on four hits and a walk. Paxton (1-0) has allowed one run in his first 92⁄3 innings and has 17 strikeouts. Jackson defeated Tennessee 2-1.

■ Former Morehead State standout Hank Mabee, a White Sox prospect, got his second win of the season in Double-A Birmingham's 4-2 win against Huntsville. Mabee hasn't given up a run in 61⁄3 innings pitched this season.

■ Former UK standout Ryan Strieby, a Tigers prospect, was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in Triple-A Toledo's 4-0 victory against Louisville. He's batting .360 and has six RBI in six games.

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