SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
NEW BRITAIN - Newly acquired New Britain Bees pitcher Greg Nappo is proving to be a versatile piece for the organization and will be an important key for the Bees in the second half of the season.
The Connecticut native is making a name for himself so far in his brief time with the Bees this season and has fit in quite nicely with his new teammates.
“It’s a great group of guys and you know, it’s been a lot of fun so far,” Nappo said about his time with the Bees so far. “I am looking forward to winning with these guys from here and on.”
Nappo was acquired on July 1 from the Miami Marlins organization after appearing in 16 combined games between AAA New Orleans and AA Jacksonville. During his tenure, he struck out 22 batters in 22 2/3 innings pitched, generating a 3.57 ERA.
So far this season with the Bees he has made one relief appearance and most recently, his first start this past Monday going four innings and allowing one run. With the option of Nappo pitching in the pen or as a starter, it is a luxury for manager Stan Cliburn.
“I liked the guy from the first day I saw him, the way he threw the ball in one inning of relief and the way he pitched his first game here,” Cliburn said on the left-hander. “You got a guy that can come out of the bullpen, which we are going to need. We got some guys down there in a situation where they are comfortable now like (Nate) Roe and (Brandon) Fry, but we have been having to go to them too much.”
Cliburn believes that Nappo will be that guy to give Fry and Roe days off when the team plays down the stretch. Cliburn also says Nappo is someone who can come out to start if the occasion arises itself.
“If a guy comes up with a sore arm in the starting rotation or not doing their job, then he can go to the starter role,” Cliburn said. “He is an ace in the hole that we got and that we can utilize in any way.”
For Nappo to start and go later into the games he must build his arm strength, according to Cliburn. As of right now Cliburn and Nappo are in an agreement of only allowing the 28-year-old to go up to 50 pitches, but Nappo will slowly progress to build up his arm strength, something he is looking forward to doing.
“I obviously would like to,” Nappo said on raising his pitch count. “I haven’t started consistently in a long time, so I have to listen to my body to see what it tells me to do.”
In the two appearances Nappo has made so far this season, he has posted a 7.20 ERA and has only walked one batter. He hopes as he continues to have reps in the pitching mound, he will be exactly that useful pitcher the Bees signed him to be.
Kimberly Pena can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @Kimberly_P12