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Diamondbacks' top pick makes his pro debut with Hillsboro

North Medford grad pitches two innings against Vancouver


It did not last long — especially in the context of the game — but Braden Shipley finally made his home debut for the Hillsboro Hops on Sunday.

Shipley, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ highly touted pitching prospect out of North Medford High School and the University of Nevada, joined Hillsboro on June 19. He made his season-opening start on July 2 in Eugene, so Sunday’s 19-inning marathon against Vancouver was the first chance for home fans to get a look at the 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-hander, who was taken as the 15th pick overall in last month’s MLB Draft.

“I felt pretty good. I felt better than I did my first start,” Shipley said after the game, which Hillsboro finally won 5-4 in the 19th inning on an RBI sacrifice fly. “I felt more confident in my stuff, just a little bit more relaxed out there. Today was more about improving from the last start, and I feel like I did that, so I’m happy about that.”

As he did against the Emeralds, Shipley started and pitched two innings on Sunday. He gave up a walk, recorded a strikeout, and then was dinged for an RBI double against the first three batters he faced, but he settled in from there, fanning three more Canadians and getting two groundouts during the rest of his appearance.

Hops pitching coach Doug Drabek said the plan was always to throw Shipley for just the two innings on Sunday. What pitchers were doing in college is different than when they get to the pros, Drabek said, where they are now on throwing programs in which they throw every day, so the staff tries to build the pitchers up and monitor them.

Even though Shipley was not on the mound for long, Drabek liked what he saw.

“He did another good job. He’s got a good fastball, a good breaking ball, and today he threw his changeup a little more than he did his first outing,” he said. “It was good. He got some swings and misses with it. He’s very good at keeping the ball down. Rarely do I see him go up. He went up once or twice, but they were the two strikes, so it was effective.”

Shipley noted that prior to his start in Eugene, he had not thrown against a live hitter in five weeks, so he had been glad to get back out on the mound. For Sunday’s game, his father, grandparents and girlfriend were all in attendance.

They and the Hops faithful should probably get their in-person looks while they can.

“I can see him moving, not only because of his stuff, but the way he kind of goes about his business,” Drabek said. “Just talking with him, the way he’s talking about pitching, he has an idea. It’s not just throwing with good stuff. He has an idea of what he wants to do. That’s good to see.”

Recent transactions: On Saturday, the Hops released Alexander Carreras, a left-handed pitcher. On Monday, J. R. Bradley was assigned to Hillsboro from the South Bend (Ind.) Silver Hawks, the Diamondbacks’ long-season Class A affiliate. Bradley, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed pitcher, was a second-round pick in the 2010 first-year player draft.

Also on Monday, Alex Byo was assigned from the Hops to the AZL D-backs, the Diamondbacks’ Arizona League (Rookie) affiliate. Taken in the 33rd round of this year’s MLB draft, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-hander out of Tulane pitched 7 1/3 innings over five games for the Hops this season.




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