Dustin Richardson knows about pressure.
Tonight’s start wasn’t pressure.
Playing for Bobby Knight, well that was.
You see, tonight’s starter and winning in the Ducks 5-1 win over the Bridgeport Bluefish, tried out for Knight School when he was at Texas Tech and almost made Knight’s basketball team.
“I went deep into the contest and I had a chance to get a spot,” Richardson said. “I wanted to play baseball and get in the draft, so I chose to get into baseball.”
So that was pressure – and maybe getting a chair thrown at him – but tonight, moving from the bullpen, it was nothing.
“You got to remind yourself it’s still pitching,” Richardson said. “When you are in starting rotation as a starter you know when you are getting to pitch. When you are a reliever, you have to pitch every day. I enjoy being a starter and I had recent success in it, so I rather be in the rotation.”
No problem. With a line of four-inning with one run on one hit, it seemed like he secured his spot in the rotation and in the meantime lowered his ERA from 4.05 to a more efficient 2.53.
Needless to say, manager Kevin Baez was pleased.
“It’s tough in this league where there is no feeding system and guys are stepping up,” Baez said. “And Richardson pitched in this league as a starter and he’s done well. He wanted to start and he has a plus arm. We will see how he progresses.”
Richardson was limited to 50 pitches today, because the Ducks need to stretch him out. The former Boston Red Sox pitched in this league from 2012-13 from the Sugar Land Skeeters and now is looking for another shot after the Dodgers released him from the minors back in June.
So right now, he’s putting a smile on Baez’s face, which he says is much easier than, of course, one Mr. Knight.
“Bobby Knight has more presence, but KB is a player’s coach,” he said, however he added, “Bobby Knight is a father figure, so I learned a lot from him.”
And now it’s Baez’s turn to teach.