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Lamet, Tingler pleased with RHP's spring debut

@feinsand
February 29, 2020

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Saturday marked Dinelson Lamet's 2020 Cactus League debut, but the pitcher viewed the outing as just another step toward what he hopes will be a long, productive season.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Saturday marked Dinelson Lamet's 2020 Cactus League debut, but the pitcher viewed the outing as just another step toward what he hopes will be a long, productive season.

Lamet held the Reds to one hit and one walk over two scoreless innings, striking out three in the Padres’ 7-3 win at Goodyear Ballpark.

“To me, preparation doesn’t start in Spring Training; it starts in the offseason,” Lamet said through an interpreter. “Getting out there for the first time is really putting in practice all the things I’ve been working on.”

Lamet went 3-5 with a 4.07 ERA in 14 starts last season, striking out 105 in 73 innings. His elbow felt good after he returned from his April 2018 Tommy John surgery, but now that he’s had the opportunity to spend his offseason prioritizing rest rather than rehab, the 27-year-old is focused on staying healthy and making a full season’s worth of starts.

“It’s in the past; it’s something that’s a part of my history at this point,” Lamet said of his surgery. “Once last season ended, I was able to give my arm a full rest. I was able to reevaluate and think about things, focus on weak points, strong points and whatever I needed to work on in the offseason.”

A one-out walk of Freddy Galvis in the first inning gave the Reds a scoring opportunity as Galvis moved to second on a ground ball, then third on a wild pitch. Lamet shook off the mistake, striking out Aristides Aquino to end the inning.

“We get some of that in our sim games; we can script it, you can put guys on and you try to pitch through situations,” Lamet said. “I like being in those situations. I would love to throw every game when nobody reaches base, but if they’re on there, they’re good situations to experience and go through before the season starts.”

Kyle Farmer singled with one out in the second, but Lamet induced a fielder’s choice and struck out Matt Davidson, escaping the inning without harm.

“I was excited when I got out there,” Lamet said. “It had been about five months since I had seen hitters, so getting out there and needing to make pitches in a game facing hitters, knowing what to do after making that first pitch, it was definitely good to be out there.”

Manager Jayce Tingler cautioned before the game that he wouldn’t overreact either way based on how Lamet looked. When it was over, it was clear that the manager was impressed.

“For the first outing, really good,” Tingler said. “Fastball played, velo was really good; he went down in the zone and up in the zone with it. The slider/curveball [was] very good today. … Health is most important right now; arm looks good, body looks good, velo was good. To get through his two innings today, that’s a good start.”

It remains to be seen how many innings Lamet can give the Padres this season, especially after combining for just 97 innings between the Minors and Majors a year ago.

Lamet has topped the 150-inning mark between the Minors and Majors twice in his career (2016 and ’17), so the Padres are approaching this season without many restrictions on his workload.

“We’ll start to tackle that when we get up and running,” Tingler said. “We really don’t expect to have many handcuffs on, but we have to be responsible with it, as well.”

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.