SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed reliever Tim Collins came into camp with the purpose of improving his pitch command and cutting down on walks. Judging from his performance in Thursday's intrasquad game, manager Ned Yost believes Collins is making progress.
"No doubt," Yost said. "He didn't elevate one pitch until the last pitch of the inning which he elevated on purpose to strike a hitter out. So I was very impressed by the way he threw the ball today. He commanded every pitch that he threw, had good life on his pitches and it was a very, very impressive outing for him."
Collins retired Chris Getz on a grounder to first, then struck out both Lorenzo Cain and Billy Butler. The one high pitch was to Butler who swung and missed.
"I was trying to put a little extra on it and it just got up in the zone. He still got a pretty good swing. I think I threw enough strikes to get somebody to chase the ball," Collins said.
"It just felt good to go out there and throw strikes," he added.
In fact, the 13 pitchers who each worked one inning in the game combined to issue just one walk (Tommy Hottovy passed Wil Myers) while piling up 14 strikeouts in the 6 ½ innings.
In addition to Collins, Louis Coleman and Jeremy Jeffress each pitched a perfect inning. Coleman, in fact, retired four hitters as another batter was added to his inning to give him more work. Mike Montgomery retired three straight batters after an inning-opening error.
"It was pretty good the way the pitchers threw today. They kept the ball down and made the guys swing the bat," catcher Salvador Perez said. "It was pretty good today for the first game."