Adams shakes off nerves in Grapefruit League debut

Phillies relief pitcher Mike Adams. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillies righthander Mike Adams felt like a rookie and showed the same enthusiasm. Even though he had made 386 regular season relief appearances, he saw his first action this spring against major league hitters and that really got the juices flowing.

Adams is coming off shoulder surgery and hadn’t pitched against major leaguers since June 19.

He did have two, one-inning stints against minor leaguers this spring, but this was different. It was the New York Yankees and whether it’s an exhibition game or not, Adams was beside himself.

He pitched one scoreless inning, throwing 16 pitches in Tuesday’s 6-0 win over the Yankees.

The first batter he faced was Ichiro Suzuki.
“After the Ichiro at-bat I felt a little bit better,” Adams said. “For the Ichiro at-bat I was crazy nervous.”

Even with all that major league experience, it shows how important it is for Adams to make a comeback, thus the nerves.

“I knew I would be a little nervous but it wasn’t jitters, it was like shakes,” he said. “I was in the bullpen pacing around, trying to get my composure.”

After Ichiro flew out to left, Brett Garnder and Derek Jeter connected on consecutive singles, with neither ball hit hard. 

Adams got Carlos Beltran on a pop-up and ended the inning by striking out Mark Teixeira on a backdoor cutter. Adams didn’t reach 90 miles per hour, but he showed good command.

“I think the velocity will get that at some point and it is part of the process but he was real good in the strike zone and down and that was big,” catcher Carlos Ruiz said. “That is what you need in big situations and that is what you are looking for.”

Adams says he’s prepared to pitch with fewer MPH on his fastball.

“As you get older your stuff kind of depletes,” he said.

And he has prepared himself to make the proper adjustments.

“I don’t think I will overpower anybody,” Adams said. “I have to keep the ball down change speeds and locate.”

And after shaking off some initial nervousness, he did just that.