SAN DIEGO -- Yordano Ventura, Kansas City's rookie pitching sensation, gets a two-thumbs-up review from a pitching expert -- Padres manager, and former Royals left-hander, Bud Black.
"I've read about the kid, all the accolades, seen him pitch a couple times on television. Pulled up video as we do prior to a series," Black said. "But this kid's better in person. Some commentary's been tempered, some has been a little bit over the top but, I'm telling you, this kid is legit."
Ventura worked six innings in Monday night's 12-inning, 6-5 loss to the Padres. The first five innings were scoreless but he got a curveball up to Yasmani Grandal which resulted in a three-run homer in the sixth. He gave up just five hits, walked nobody and struck out 10.
"Not knowing the kid, not knowing what he's all about, but just from a pure delivery, stuff, arm action, pitches -- it's real," Black said.
"I was impressed, obviously, with velocity but after watching other games that he's pitched, I thought his use of secondary pitches was great. He's in command, good mound presence, fields his position, a little bit of emotion when he gave up the homer -- I liked that. He was upset. There was a lot to like."
Black expected that he'd see a lot more of Ventura's notorious fastball, which approaches (and sometimes exceeds) 100 mph.
"Going in, I thought it would be fastball heavy," he said. "But, sure enough, here comes the good change and here comes the curveball. There were some counts and some at-bats where I'm thinking, 'OK, let's go, get on the heater, be ready for the fastball,' and here comes the secondary stuff."
His Padres managed to survive the kid but Black had a parting thought.
"Well," he said, "I'm glad we don't have to face him anymore."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.