NEW YORK (AP) Jesse Hahn will likely see some familiar faces in the crowd Saturday – and the opposing dugout.
The San Diego Padres plan to recall Hahn from Double-A San Antonio to start against the New York Mets. The right-hander was a high school teammate of injured Mets ace Matt Harvey in Groton, Connecticut, about a 2-hour drive from Citi Field.
Must have made for quite a pitching staff.
Article continues below ...
”We just couldn’t hit,” Hahn said Friday in the Padres’ clubhouse. ”He was the only one who could hit.”
Hahn said he’ll try to leave about 10-15 tickets for family and friends but expects his cheering section could be larger.
It will be his second major league start, following a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on June 3 in San Diego. Hahn lasted 3 2-3 innings in that game, allowing four runs and six hits – including homers by Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker.
”I tired out in my last start a little bit, so I thought they’d send me down to build up some more stamina. I was able to go up to almost six innings my last start (in Double-A), and luckily I got the call again,” Hahn said. ”I just had so much adrenaline and so much excitement the first time. I think now I know what’s going on. I know the game a little better now and I think I’ll be more relaxed.”
A sixth-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech in 2010, the 24-year-old Hahn was obtained from Tampa Bay in January as part of a seven-player trade. And just like Harvey, his career was interrupted by Tommy John surgery.
Hahn had the elbow procedure in August 2010 and missed the 2011 season. Harvey had the operation last October and is in the middle of his rehabilitation.
Hahn said he hasn’t spoken to Harvey in about a year but hoped to see the All-Star pitcher this weekend at Citi Field.
”He’s been really busy lately. It’s been hard to get a hold of him,” Hahn said with a grin.
Harvey and Hahn were in the same class at Fitch High School, where Harvey’s father, Ed, coached the baseball team.
”He was awesome. He was one of the best coaches I’ve ever played under. He taught me a lot,” said Hahn, who threw a no-hitter as a senior and set a Connecticut record with a 0.17 ERA.
Hahn said the team won a state championship when he and Harvey were sophomores, but was knocked out in the semifinals the following two seasons.
”I don’t know how we didn’t win it three years in a row there. It boggles my mind to this day,” Hahn said. ”Like I said, we didn’t hit.”
Hahn recalled scouts swarming to their games and said Harvey’s stature as an amateur prospect helped get him more attention.
Harvey went to North Carolina and was drafted No. 7 overall by the Mets in 2010.
”Every day, yeah,” Hahn said. ”I mean, I wouldn’t get as many as Matt, but they were there every day watching us play and because of how good Matt was, I think it got me a lot of looks.”
Now, years later, Hahn is excited to get another big league start – especially so close to home.
”It’s good to get an opportunity to throw in front of all these people who have been supporting me for so long. And it’s my second start, so I’m going to feel really calm and relaxed,” he said.
Padres manager Bud Black said the club’s minor league evaluators think Hahn is improving, even though he doesn’t have much professional experience yet.
”His total game is improving, and that’s what you want to see out of a young pitcher is the growth and the continued development, and that’s what we’re seeing the early part of this year for Jesse,” Black said.
Hahn probably will be limited to about 90-100 pitches Saturday, and Black said pitching close to home can provide a boost.
”It can help and hurt. But I think on balance, I think it’s more helpful,” Black said. ”Family, friends, I think can add a little bit of ease.”
NOTES: The Padres signed first-round draft pick Trea Turner, a shortstop selected No. 13 overall out of North Carolina State. San Diego also inked OF Michael Gettys (second round) and RHP Zech Lemond (third round). The team has signed 22 of its 40 draft picks.