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Diamond has strong debut for Twins

“Diamond really threw the ball well for us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

July 29, 2011

Diamond has strong debut for Twins

Former Binghamton baseball pitcher Scott Diamond earned high praise from his manager after going into the seventh inning in his Major League Baseball debut Monday, July 18, at Target Field in Minneapolis. Diamond, called up to Minnesota from Triple-A Rochester on July 17, scattered seven hits and three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in the Twins’ 6-3 loss to Cleveland.

Diamond, who became the first Binghamton player to reach the pinnacle of professional baseball, was sent back to Rochester on July 21.

“Diamond really threw the ball well for us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The runs they scored [against Diamond] were on two or three bloops. Overall, he did a really good job for us.”

Diamond retired the first six Indians, five on infield groundouts. He then escaped trouble in the third inning after giving up his first two hits. He left both runners stranded, however, with a fly ball out to center.

The Twins gave him a 1-0 lead with a run in the bottom of the third inning. After another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, Diamond surrendered two runs on three hits in the fifth - all with two out. After a double and a walk, Cleveland used back-to-back bloop singles to center to take the lead. Diamond made a nice fielding play to open the sixth, stabbing a hard comebacker and throwing to first for the out. Then with two outs and a runner on first, Diamond recorded his first MLB strikeout, freezing Indians’ third baseman Jack Hanahan with a curveball to end the frame.

Minnesota knotted the game at 2 with a run in the sixth. Cleveland’s Lou Marson snapped the tie with a solo home run on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the seventh and Diamond exited four batters later. The Indians struck for three more runs off Minnesota’s bullpen to widen the final gap.

Diamond threw 90 pitches, 56 for strikes. He walked a pair (one intentionally) to go with his first strikeout.

“It’s been a fun experience, and I really had some fun with these guys today,” Diamond told afterwards. “I thought it was pretty good. I was able to challenge a lot of hitters and keep them off balance for the most part. I gave up a couple big hits, but for the most part I’m pretty satisfied with it.”

When he departed in the seventh, Diamond got an ovation from the crowd at Target Field.

“It was unbelievable,” Diamond said. “It’s what every kid dreams of, especially being my Major League debut, it was really exciting. It’s awesome to have that kind of crowd here.”

After reaching the mound to make the pitching change, Gardenhire told Diamond to soak in the experience and Diamond flashed a grin as he exited.

“I said, ‘You did a heck of a job, enjoy this. These people are going to be cheering for you when you walk off. You’ll never forget this moment,’” Gardenhire said.

“I thought he was great,” Twins catcher Joe Mauer said. “I know he had some nerves running. We’ve all been there. I was impressed with him throwing his breaking pitches for strikes. I thought he pitched great.”

After a solid four-year tenure with the Atlanta Braves organization, Diamond was selected by the Twins with the 27th pick in the Rule 5 Draft in December. He was one of the final players sent down to Rochester in the preseason after developing a blister on his left thumb. Diamond had allowed just one earned run in six innings of spring training action. In Rochester, he posted a 4.70 ERA with 68 strikeouts and 30 walks in 17 starts for the Red Wings.

Diamond climbed through the Braves’ minor league system without allowing his ERA to rise higher than 3.52 at any level. Last summer, he finished with the Braves’ Triple-A Gwinnett team, posting a 4-1 record with a 3.36 ERA. He racked up 33 strikeouts and 15 walks in 56 innings. Diamond held both lefties and righties to a .250 average or lower and averaged 7.27 strikeouts per nine innings over his last two seasons. In 158 2/3 innings in 2010 (AA and AAA), Diamond walked 54 and struck out 123.

In three seasons at Binghamton (2005-07), he totaled 14 wins and started 37 games - the most starts of any Binghamton pitcher in that span. An accomplished engineering student while at Binghamton, Diamond is closing in on finishing his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering.

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