Parker benefits from calmer nerves

Parker benefits from calmer nerves

Parker benefits from calmer nerves
PEORIA, Ariz. -- This time, Jarrod Parker felt more comfortable.

Parker allowed two hits in tossing a pair of scoreless innings against the Padres on Thursday. It was the second outing for the former first-round Draft pick, who is on the road to recovery from Tommy John surgery.

"I feel pretty good," Parker said. "I'm just preparing for the season, and I'm just trying to take each outing into the next one and keep building."

In his first outing earlier this week, Parker walked the bases loaded before finally working his way out of the jam without a run scoring.

This time around, Parker had far better command.

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"Definitely a lot more comfortable," Parker said of the difference between the two outings. "I relaxed a little bit. I threw a little less in the 'pen. Going two innings, I wanted to get through the two clean and stay with a good energy level the whole time."

Parker allowed a one-out double to Eric Patterson in the fourth but got Chris Denorfia and pinch-hitter Aaron Cunningham to pop out to third to end the inning.

In the fifth, Parker gave up a two-out single to Oscar Salazar, but, after a wild pitch moved Salazar to second, Kevin Frandsen flew out to retire the side.

The first time around, Parker threw mainly his fastball and changeup, along with one slider. On Thursday, he changed things up.

"I didn't throw any changeups today," Parker said. "I threw a couple of curveballs, a couple of sliders and just kind of worked in and out with the fastball. Just staying with the same delivery, and trying to repeat it each time with every pitch throughout lefties and righties. I was getting over my front side and getting ahead of guys, and then going in and out as much as I could and just letting guys get themselves out versus trying to strike everybody out."

Parker is a long shot to make the team, given that his lone work on the mound last year came in instructional ball, but he will get a long look during camp.

"I thought he was much better," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He threw the ball better, kept it down nicely, much calmer."

Once called the next Mickey Mantle by Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson, Gibson is loathe to place expectations on Parker, despite his obvious potential.

"My job is to just give him the tools to become who he can be," Gibson said of Parker. "Does he have a golden arm? We all agree, yes. But I'm not going to sit here and proclaim him a Hall of Famer. I don't know. That's up to him. We'll give him the tools and try to make sure we're there for him to do whatever it takes to help him reach his potential."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.