FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Growing up in Massachusetts -- attending the University of Hartford -- left-hander Sean Newcomb was, naturally, a Red Sox fan.Newcomb, 23, was a first-round (15th overall) Draft pick by the Angels in 2014. He joined the Braves in the trade that sent Andrelton Simmons to the
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Growing up in Massachusetts -- attending the University of Hartford -- left-hander Sean Newcomb was, naturally, a Red Sox fan.
Newcomb, 23, was a first-round (15th overall) Draft pick by the Angels in 2014. He joined the Braves in the trade that sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels in November 2015. This was his first time visiting the Red Sox's Spring Training home, a replica of Fenway Park.
"I haven't [been here before]. I wish I could have," he said. "It's cool, being out on the field. First of all, walking down in the tunnel, there's a picture of all the Sox, like David Ortiz, Manny [Ramirez], Pedro [Martinez]. I kind of got some goose bumps. Then I went out on the field and saw the [Green] Monster. It was pretty sweet."
Newcomb, who did not get into Sunday's game -- an 11-1 Braves loss -- had several friends and family members at the game including his stepfather, his stepfather's father, and an uncle. Being here brought him back to when he was a kid.
"Yeah, definitely," he said. "We used to go to games when Pedro would pitch, Manny would hit home runs. Even when I was older, [Jon] Lester would be throwing. It's pretty sweet to see and be around."
In 27 starts for Double-A Mississippi last season Newcomb was 8-7 with a 3.86 ERA.
"I just got to build off how I ended last year," he said. "I had a good last third of the season. I just got to keep finding my command, make sure I can pound the zone with all my pitches. I've been working with [pitching coach] Chuck Hernandez and things have been going really well so far. My first outing wasn't good just because I let up some hits. But I was throwing strikes. So, I kind of know where I need to go from there."
Manager Brian Snitker likes what he has seen from Newcomb thus far.
"I remember Sean last year," Snitker said. "I have just a brief history with him. But I think Sean just needs to be Sean. It's tough some times for these kids. They come with such high expectations. We just want him just to play, continue to work, continue to improve. Command is always big for young kids. Most of them have the arms. They have the stuff. But it's just about command and location, and that comes from playing. The best thing we can do as managers -- in the Minor Leagues especially -- is put them in the lineup, let them play and let them pitch. They'll get that on-the-job training that's invaluable."
Newcomb had a difficult first outing, giving up four runs on six hits in one inning of work. Snitker, though, is not concerned.
"He's been fine, really," Snitker said. "I just think at times we may expect too much too soon from guys. He's a big strong kid with a good arm. He just needs to play is all, because he definitely has the pitches. The whole package is there. It's just about getting consistent."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Braves on Sunday.