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Capps flashes 100-mph heat in big league debut

Capps flashes 100-mph heat in big league debut

Capps flashes 100-mph heat in big league debut
NEW YORK -- Mariners right-handed reliever Carter Capps didn't pitch in his first two games after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday, but the 21-year-old rookie graced a Major League mound for the first time in Friday's series-opening 6-3 loss to the Yankees, doing so at Yankee Stadium, no less.

In relief of starter Kevin Millwood, Capps opened the bottom of the seventh with the Mariners trailing, 4-1, and reached 100 mph on his first pitch, which was fouled off by Russell Martin. The rookie faced three batters in all, recording one out and allowing two runs on one hit and a walk. Both runs scored after Capps had been relieved by Oliver Perez.

For a youngster who pitched just one game at Triple-A before getting promoted, it's all pretty overwhelming at this point, and his first trip into Yankee Stadium didn't diminish that.

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"It was a great experience, obviously," said Capps. "I got to face the Yankees, so that was pretty amazing. They have a bunch of good hitters, so you've just got to pound the zone. ... But I only faced three batters and I had a walk, so I wasn't pounding the zone like I should have been. I didn't get the results I wanted."

Capps admitted it was "discouraging" to have Martin turn around a 101-mph fastball for a single, but he understood.

"It's going to happen if you leave the ball over the plate anywhere, so the speed doesn't really matter," Capps said.

Eric Wedge knew he was putting the youngster into a tough spot, opening his career at Yankee Stadium, but the manager wanted to get both Capps and fellow rookie Stephen Pryor -- the Mariners' eighth- and ninth-best prospects, respectively, according to MLB.com -- into action after they had been promoted from Tacoma on the same day.

"It was a good time to get him in there and get that first one out of the way," Wedge said. "Obviously, you see what kind of stuff he has. But there's only one first time and he got it out of the way -- and he got it out of the way here at Yankee Stadium.

"So good for him, and now he can go out there and settle down a little bit. Pryor hadn't pitched in five days, so I wanted to get him out there, too, and knock the rust off and get his first appearances since he was recalled. So I was glad we were able to do that."

Capps' parents and a college assistant coach flew in from North Carolina for the weekend series. Capps grew up in Kinston, N.C., whose population of 22,000 is about half of Friday's crowd of 45,872 at Yankee Stadium.

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