Mark Payton makes his 2018 debut as RailRiders beat Indianapolis

By DJ Eberle - [email protected]
Payton -

Mark Payton has had a whirlwind of a 24 hours.

The 26-year-old outfielder had only played in a handful of extend spring training games and simulated games as he worked back from a knee injury suffered in spring training. So when he got the call Thursday at 11 p.m. that he’d be joining the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Indianapolis the following day he was a little bit surprised. But also ready to re-join his teammates.

After a day that started with an 8:30 a.m. flight out of Tampa, Fla., Payton went 0-for-1 with three walks as the RailRiders took the series opener from the Indianapolis Indians 4-0.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air just being out there again — running out,” Payton said over the phone Friday night. “Getting to run out there in a real game where you have a bunch of fans around, and Indy’s great place to play. It was a lot of fun. I’m just happy to be out there again.”

Despite going hitless, Payton was happy with his night at the plate.

Considering he had only between 20 to 25 at-bats while he was in Tampa, Payton would take a night where he reached base three out of four plate appearances. Not to mention, plate discipline is something the outfielder is working on this season.

“I felt pretty good at the plate,” Payton said. “I felt my at-bats were actually better than I expected them to be, not really having that many at-bats yet. No, but it felt good and I’m happy. Obviously stayed within the strike zone today, which is something I really wanted to concentrate on this year. It was good.”

“Obviously, I’m going to have to keep on getting these at-bats and feeling comfortable and getting the body to speed back up to the pace of play.”

The RailRiders got a nice night on the mound from Chance Adams.

The 23-year-old right-hander has struggled this season, but that was not the case against the Indians. He threw 5.2 scoreless innings, gave up just four hits and struck out seven. Adams didn’t walk a batter.

Offensively, Brandon Drury, Mike Ford and Kyle Higashioka all went 2-for-4. One of Ford’s hits was an RBI double in the fifth. He also had an RBI single in the first inning to put the RailRiders on the board.

Higashioka — fifth-inning RBI single to left — and Billy McKinney — eighth-inning solo home run — knocked in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s other two runs.

Clint Frazier continued his tear, going 1-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.


By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle