Part of Williamsport manager Chris Truby would still love to have Matt Way pitching for the Crosscutters. But he knows the best thing for the southpaw pitcher is to make the move to Class A Lakewood and see how he stacks up.
Way, the Philadelphia Phillies' fifth-round draft pick out of Washington State, was moved up to low-A ball over the weekend. He was replaced on the roster by right-handed pitcher Chad Poe.
Way had quickly turned into the Cutters' staff ace in his eight starts. Despite his 2-3 record, Way was fifth in the New York-Penn League with a 1.67 ERA with 43 strikeouts and just eight walks.
"He deserves it. He pitched his butt off," Truby said. "He's one of those guys that we anticipated wasn't going to be here very long anyway, especially with the way he came out and threw the ball."
For eight starts, Way baffled batters with a fastball and changeup and occasional breaking ball. Only seven of the 11 runs he gave up in 37 2/3 innings were earned.
"Selfishly, I wish he were still here, but I'm happy for him," Truby said. "He can survive at the next level, and then the next level because he's a pitcher."
Because of the timing of Way's promotion to Lakewood, the Cutters were forced to use reliever Spencer Arroyo to start Sunday's finale of a four-game road trip. Neither Truby, nor pitching coach Tom Filer wanted to throw anybody on short rest, Arroyo, who has averaged just over 2 innings pitched per outing, gave Williamsport four-plus solid innings against Batavia before the Muckdogs pulled away for the win. It was the only game on the road trip the Cutters lost.
Austin Hyatt, who has been nearly unhittable as a closer for the Cutters, will take over Way's spot in the rotation. Hyatt was a starter throughout his career at the University of Alabama prior to being drafted by the Phillies this summer.
Hyatt has been steadily going three innings per relief appearance in recent weeks. He's tied for fifth in the league with six saves on a team that has league-leading 15 saves. In 12 games, Hyatt has posted a team-best 0.34 ERA with 40 strikeouts in just 26 2/3 innings.
"We really liked Hyatt in the back end of the bullpen," Truby said. "But it's good for him to be a starter where he can use his stuff and learn to go through a lineup a couple, three times."
Initially Hyatt is probably going to be able to go a little beyond the three innings he's become accustomed to in recent weeks, but Truby was unsure just how far he'll be able to go right away.
But Hyatt's insertion in the rotation couldn't come at a better time. The Cutters are without starter Jonathan Pettibone, who has missed his last two starts in the rotation. There is believed to be no major structural damage in Pettibone's arm. And according to Truby, it could be as simple as tendinitis, or just arm fatigue.
Korey Noles has filled in admirably for Pettibone, throwing 11 innings in his two starts, allowing just two runs.
"We want to pitch (Pettibone) and we want him out there competing," Truby said. "But for him to get a little break and make sure everything is alright is not the end of the world for him."
JAMES STILL OUT: Jiwan James will remain sidelined for at least the next two weeks after it was discovered he has a fractured bone around his hand and wrist area on his throwing hand.
James, who has been the Cutters' everyday center fielder the majority of the season, hasn't played since July 16 at Brooklyn. He was hit by a ball in that right arm and has been unable to throw or hit comfortably since.
James is hitting .256 with one home run this year.