Almost three weeks after being sent down to Lakeland for major reconstructive pitching instruction, Dontrelle Willis finally saw some game action (in what turned out to be a 20-inning marathon) for the Lakeland Flying Tigers last night.
Some have been scratching their heads, wondering why we hadn't heard any news on him, and whether or not that was a bad sign. I'm not really surprised that it took this long for Willis to pitch in a game, because it seemed like he was assigned to Lakeland to get his head and mechanics straight. (And maybe tone down and lose a little bulk, if you believe that's another reason why the D-Train is so out of whack.)
As Jim Leyland put it:
"This is a process he needs to go through and is going through. Hopefully, we can get him back."
So how did Willis perform against the Daytona Cubs? He allowed one run on one hit, and walked three batters. Not bad, eh? Well, except it was in two innings of work, which makes the three walks, in particular, a bit troubling. Willis did get credited with a hold, however.
Here's what Willis said to the Lakeland Ledger after the game:
"I felt very good tonight for not having thrown in a game in a couple of weeks. It took me a few pitches to get my stride back but I felt I had command of all my pitches once I did."