LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Foltynewicz would have liked to have recorded one more out, but the Braves right-hander still had reason to exit the Grapefruit League season feeling confident and satisfied about the progress he made both physically and mentally during Spring Training.Foltynewicz made another good impression Monday
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Foltynewicz would have liked to have recorded one more out, but the Braves right-hander still had reason to exit the Grapefruit League season feeling confident and satisfied about the progress he made both physically and mentally during Spring Training.
Foltynewicz made another good impression Monday night, as he showed poise amidst the trouble encountered in an effective start that helped the Braves claim an 11-3 win over the Tigers. He will make his next start in a Minor League exhibition and then begin focusing his attention toward his April 8 regular-season debut in Pittsburgh.
"It really has helped going out there and just knowing you're going to get these guys out," Foltynewicz said. "I have confidence in this offense and defense behind me. They're going to do their work and make plays and score runs. So, yeah, I have all the confidence in the world."
Foltynewicz's confidence was certainly strengthened as he produced a 2.66 ERA over 23 2/3 innings, but more importantly he feels a sense of comfort that wasn't present as he entered either of the past two seasons. He came to Spring Training in 2015 as a big-time prospect who had just been acquired from the Astros, then went through last year's camp saddled by the fact he'd spent much of the winter recovering from a blood clot that had sidelined him the previous September.
"That translates out to the field for me, when you're comfortable," Foltynewicz said. "Hopefully, I can keep it going. It's been really fun this spring."
Armed with a four-pitch arsenal that includes a high-octane fastball and two effective breaking pitches, Foltynewicz has flashed his tremendous potential in starts like the one he made July 10, when he recorded 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings against the White Sox. But as he produced a 4.31 ERA over 22 starts, he too often allowed himself to stumble in the face of adversity.
Foltynewicz has focused on better controlling his emotions when he disagrees with an umpire's pitch call or simply runs into trouble like he did Monday, when he allowed three consecutive singles to begin the fourth and then retired each of the next three batters faced. His attempt to escape another bases-loaded jam in the sixth evaporated when he surrendered Tyler Collins' two-out, two-run single.
"I keep getting in those situations and I don't like it, but that's baseball," Foltynewicz said. "I think I've done a pretty good job of just bearing down and getting out of the situations. It's been the story of my spring, getting out of jams. I got out of another one today. It will be good to carry it over to the season."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.