Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Peterson Happy With Role In First Season With Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND, NY -It doesn't happen too often that a baseball team you like winds up drafting you, helping fulfill a dream. But that's exactly what became reality when the Yankees selected pitcher Nick Peterson in the 12th round at this year's MLB Draft two months ago.

"It was real exciting," the current Staten Island Yankee closer said after tossing two scoreless innings to pickup the win in the Baby Bombers' 10 inning 2-1 victory over the Cyclones Tuesday night.

"I've been looking forward to it for a long time and especially to get drafted by the New York Yankees- probably my favorite team. So it was real exciting. So I was looking forward to just getting in gear and getting up here. Having a blast so far."

The 21 year-old Tampa native got to star back home for the University of Tampa where no matter his role, he enjoyed the experience.

"I did some starting and relieving actually and I enjoyed both," the righthander pointed out. "I did a lot of relieving I think as they wanted to get me geared towards pro ball and they thought that's what I'd do here. So it was a lot of fun pitching right there at home."

In 2006, he started 10 of 15 games he appeared in- going 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA along with two saves while fanning an impressive 81 batters in 56.2 innings.

Peterson has continued to impress in his first pro season with the Baby Bombers. Serving as the team's closer, he's already gotten into 20 games converting 11 of 12 saves to go with a 2-2 record, 1.93 ERA while fanning 33 in just 23.1 innings. Most of his strikeouts have come on a fastball which usually tops out between 93-94 MPH. Combined with it, he'll also mix in a curve to keep hitters off balance, which helps explain why opponents are only batting .190 off him.

"It doesn't really matter to me," he explained of his current role. "Whatever I can do to help the team the most and there's where they need me right now. So that's what I'll do."

Peterson doesn't seem to mind entering close ballgames late with the ball in his hands.

"I love closing. Coming into the game. So there's a lot of pressure and I thrive off that."

It was especially satisfying for the S.I. reliever to come in and shut the door on the Cyclones a couple of weeks after they scored a couple of runs off him in the ninth and tenth to squeak out a win.

"It feels good to get them back and win the ballgame. I knew it was eventually going to come. It was going to happen to me but no big deal," he mentioned of that failed opportunity. "We got them back tonight and it feels good."

One thing he's appreciated is how quickly he and his Baby Bomber teammates have come together this season.

"You know, I don't think I've ever played on a team that jells any better than we do. On and off the field, these guys are great guys. They're a lot of fun and they know when to get serious and work hard and it's a lot of fun playing with them."

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