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EL notes: Mazzoni makes rapid climb
Mets righty thriving in Double-A during first full season as pro
07/31/2012 10:00 AM ET
Cory Mazzoni is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in seven Double-A starts.
Cory Mazzoni is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in seven Double-A starts. (Binghamton Mets)
Cory Mazzoni had just pitched an inning in the Florida State League All-Star Game in June when he got a call from the New York Mets. After just 12 starts this season for St. Lucie, the right-hander from North Carolina State was being promoted to Binghamton of the Eastern League.

It's been a rapid rise for the Pittsburgh-area native, who made 12 appearances between Brooklyn and St. Lucie in 2011 after being drafted in the second round that June.

"I try not to think about it," Mazzoni said of his ascension. "I was pitching pretty well with St. Lucie. It's good baseball down there. I'm just trying to improve. I want to look back and say I gave it my all and be ready for the next step."

After going 5-1 with a 3.25 ERA over 12 starts this season for St. Lucie, Mazzoni is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in his first seven starts with Binghamton. He pitched a seven-inning complete game in his Double-A debut June 20 and had back-to-back starts of seven scoreless innings in mid-July.

He also picked up the win in his most recent start, allowing just a run on four hits in six innings Friday against Portland as the Mets won, 2-1. In 42 innings with Binghamton, Mazzoni has 27 strikeouts and just eight walks.

"He's done a terrific job for us," said B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez. "Last year I saw him pitch a little bit, but it was only one inning every few days. It's been a quick rise for him so far."

Mazzoni, the No. 18 prospect in the Mets system, throws a fastball in the mid-90s with a slider and change.

"What makes him a good pitcher is his command on the mound," Lopez said. "When he's out there, it's the same attitude whether things are going well or not. He's been able to keep an even keel. That's the sign of a good pitcher."

Mazzoni grew up in Evans City, Pa., about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh. He was drafted in the 26th round in 2008 by the Washington Nationals out of Seneca Valley High School but elected to play for the Wolfpack of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"I thought about [turning pro], but I felt I wasn't ready for Minor League life," he said. "I only weighed about 160 pounds. I had a decent fastball and developing curve. The decision was pretty easy."

"Coming out of high school, it would have been a tough adjustment," he added. "I got a good education and got to play in the ACC. Those three years really helped me."

Now he's adjusting to hitters in the Eastern League.

"The hitters here are more patient," he said. "There are a lot of free swingers in the Florida State League. You have to keep the ball down and change speeds."

Does he pay attention to his prospect status?

"I try not to think about that," he said. "I try to get better each day. So far I'm thankful for the opportunity they've given me. I know a lot of people who would like to be in this situation."

In brief

Home, sweet home: Akron appears well on its way to a Western Division title, entering the week with a 9 1/2-game lead over second-place Bowie, and the Aeros can thank their pitching and their stellar play at home for the cushion. Akron leads the league with a 3.17 team ERA overall and is 41-18 at Canal Park, even after a 5-4 loss on Sunday to the visiting Baysox.

Road warriors: While Akron has been strong at home, Eastern Division leader Trenton has been the best road team in the league this year. The Thunder, who open a series at home with Altoona on Tuesday, are 33-20 away from Waterfront Park this season. Trenton also leads the league with 129 home runs.

Wild night in Erie: Richmond scored a run in the top of the 15th inning to beat Erie, 7-6, on July 26 in a game that had a 62-minute rain delay in the 12th. But that was just part of the fun. The Erie Times-News reported a skunk "loitered" on the field in the 14th in a game that took nearly five and a half hours to complete.

David Driver is contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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