MILWAUKEE — After his impressive Major League debut Friday night in which he retired nine of the 10 batters he faced in relief, including four by strikeout, Astros right-hander Chris Devenski has bought himself a longer look out of the bullpen, manager A.J. Hinch said Saturday.
Devenski, who was originally scheduled to pitch the season opener at Triple-A Fresno on Thursday, was called up after Astros reliever Michael Feliz threw 107 pitches in relief Wednesday, essentially rendering him unavailable for a few days and leaving Hinch without a long reliever. Enter Devenski.
“I was pretty poised, pretty confident in what I was going to do,” Devenski said. “Just cherish the moment.”
Hinch said he would use Devenski as much as possible in different roles because his arm is so resilient.
“He becomes anything from a long reliever to a middle reliever to an option when he’s the best matchup,” Hinch said.
Devenski’s changeup is a real weapon, Hinch said, because of the arm action. His changeup is typically about 10 mph slower than his fastball. On Friday, Devenski also had good control of his fastball as well as throwing an occasional slider.
“He’s got a lot of deception,” Hinch said. “His fastball velocity ticks up as he gets more comfortable, so there’s a gap between his fastball and changeup velocity, and there’s also some deception. He throws it with excellent arm speed. There’s really an issue for a hitter to have to deal with. The awkward swings tell me the hitter reads fastball for the first five or 10 feet out of the hand, which is optimal.”
Devenski, 25, logged 455 1/3 Minor League innings before making his debut, and now he wants to make sure he remains in the big leagues.
“You’ve got to stay hungry,” he said. “There’s always more. Never be complacent, never be satisfied with the results you had. You’re trying to do better every day.”
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag’s Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.