MOOSIC — Kyle Higashioka feels like the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are close.
Despite dropping their eighth game in 13 tries Thursday night against the Durham Bulls, the veteran catcher has seen is team makes some strides of late.
Even though they burned a four-run lead against the Bulls in Thursday’s loss, the RailRiders were able to string together some at-bats, which was something they haven’t done very often as of late. And they put up six runs in the series-opening win on Tuesday, too.
“I feel we’re really close,” Higashioka said. “We’re having some good at-bats. Guys are starting to get hot. I think we’re really close. It’s just about us continuing to work hard.”
Torreyes taking talents to left
Ronald Torreyes found himself in left field the for second consecutive night on Thursday.
However, leading up to Wednesday’s game against Durham, Torreyes hadn’t played left field since 2015 when he was with Triple-A Fresno. But it could be a position he finds himself in more often than not in the days to come.
“It’s not an easy transition to go out their and play,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said prior to Thursday’s game. “We did a little work today beforehand then in (batting practice). Just talking about angles to the ball. It’s a little different than the infield. When you’re playing the infield you’re going left and right and maybe in, but he’s got to, a couple balls he took were shallower angled because of playing the infield pretty much. We’re trying to get him to go to the gaps more directly.
“It’s just little things here and there because he has the footwork down, he just needs to get in the right direction. It’s all part of getting him used to being out there.”
Mitchell said that Torreyes’ playing time in the outfield is a directive that came from the New York Yankees when the utility man was optioned down to the RailRiders last week. In an emergency, he could be an option in the outfield.
Pitchers need to work on command
The RailRiders’ pitching staff is full of talent.
Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield are two of the top prospects in the organization, Cale Coshow throws in the upper 90s, Nestor Cortes was a Rule 5 Draft selection back in December and Erik Swanson sported a 0.45 ERA in Double-A this season, however, they’ve all struggled with the RailRiders as of late. And it’s not just them, the majority of the pitching staff has struggled in some way, shape or form.
To Mitchell, one aspect stands out. Command. The RailRiders need to improve their command.
“I think it’s all about — and it’s not just (Coshow), it’s everybody out there — locating their pitches better,” Mitchell said. “There’s hitters in this league. They’re not going to miss the mistakes, really, when you throw like they would in Double-A, maybe. They’re veteran hitters, so you have to be more consistent with your location and where you want to throw it.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle