Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Townsend adjusts to relief role

Pitcher Wade Townsend, Tampa Bay's first-round draft pick three years ago, is headed to the bullpen as he tries to keep climbing to the majors.

Townsend had a rough game Wednesday after another surgery last fall. He was 6-10 with a 5.08 ERA in 21 starts at Class A Columbus last year before arm issues shut him down. Townsend had bone spurs removed from his elbow. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of 2006.

Now, with a noticeable scar on his elbow, he's trying relief.

"I relieved a lot in college, so it's nothing new," Townsend said. "It takes a little different mindset. You have to get ready to play every day as opposed to a set routine."

Townsend struggled Wednesday, giving up six runs in the eighth inning of Tampa Bay's Double-A exhibition game with the Yankees. New York won 11-6.

"Today, I was kind of working on stuff," he said. "At the same time, it's still frustrating."

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