Doyle schools Scorpions for four frames
White Sox right-hander strikes out two in no-hit outing for Mesa
Exactly a year ago, Terry Doyle was Mr. Doyle, standing in front of a chalkboard in a New England high school math class. On Tuesday, the former teacher gave Scottsdale a bit of different kind of a arithmetic lesson.
"It's a lot more fun playing baseball than taking care of high school kids," Doyle laughed. "I'm sleeping a little longer, get to come to the field and have fun instead of teaching math lessons every day."
Tuesday's formula was simple: Four hitless innings equaled Doyle's first Arizona Fall League win as finally Mesa got in the win column by edging Scottsdale, 3-2. The White Sox prospect struck out two in his second AFL outing, throwing 40 pitches before begrudgingly taking a seat.
The Concord, Mass., native knew he'd had the no-hitter working when his manager made the call.
"Oh yeah ... I was pretty aware," said the right-hander from Boston College. "I talked to the pitching coach [Jeff Fassero] and our manager [Joe McEwing] and tried to go back out there, but they said either four innings or 60 pitches, and I'd got my innings limit, so I went to the bullpen."
Such is typically the routine in the AFL, where players are sent to refine skills and work on the finer details that help them take the next step. For Doyle, the invite to Arizona came after an offseason spent as a substitute teacher in Rhode Island. He told MiLB.com, "I figure that my baseball career isn't going to last forever and that it's probable that, at some point down the line, I'll be a high school math teacher and baseball coach."
For now, Doyle is working on his off-speed pitches rather than finding the value of "X."
"The thing I want to do is work with my change more," he said. "I'm trying to throw that a couple more times and just face better hitters and get better with every aspect involving my game."
Doyle went 8-10 with a 3.07 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 173 innings for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. Chicago's 37th-round pick in 2008 went 3 2/3 innings in his debut last week before throwing the first hitless start of his career.
"I was just mostly throwing my fastball, they were pretty aggressive and making contact early in the count," he said. "I was getting a lot of fly balls, trying to work ahead and make their aggressiveness work against them."
Doyle threw 27 strikes and did not walk a batter.
"Every time I take the mound, I want to go nine innings, even though I know it's not going to happen here," he said. "I still want to go as long as I can can. Hopefully I can go out there and throw as many innings as I can."
Pitchers in Arizona are limited in part to get everyone some work on the roster. With so many talented arms filling roster spots and the occasional taxi squad players coming and going, it's a fight to get a few innings logged in the AFL.
The experience for Doyle, though, has been fun so far, especially compared to last winter.
"It's a blast," the 25-year-old said. "We played against a lot of these guys in the Minors, and now you get to play with them, you get to know them personally. It's fun meeting guys with different organizations and seeing how they do their work and comparing. Everyone is good, and we're all trying to get better. We all have the goal of reaching the Majors."
Brandon Short, Doyle's teammate this season at Birmingham, helped his starter with a solo homer in the sixth inning to give Mesa a 3-0 lead. The Solar Sox scored in the first on an RBI double by the Cubs' Josh Vitters.
Mesa got a second run in the fifth when Minnesota's Aaron Hicks hit a ball that glanced off the glove of Nationals' top prospect Bryce Harper in right. The play was ruled a triple and allowed Hicks to race home for a 2-0 lead after a fielding error by center fielder Gary Brown (Giants).
Hank Conger (Angels) and Zach Walters (Nationals) drove in Scottsdale's runs.
Tyler Cloyd (Phillies) started for the Scorpions and was charged with one run on four hits and a walk while throwing 41 pitches over three innings. He struck out one.
Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.