CLEARWATER, Fla. - At noon yesterday, on a mound tucked in the back of the Phillies' training complex, 18-year-old lefthander Jesse Biddle threw the first pitch of his professional career in a Gulf Coast League game.
A fastball for a strike.
What followed for Biddle, the 27th overall pick in this year's draft, were three no-hit innings against the GCL Yankees: 39 pitches on a mix of fastballs (a couple at 93 mph), sliders and changeups. He struck out three and walked one.
Then Biddle was pulled, although he didn't want to be.
"I'm ready to keep going," he told his coaches, who chuckled.
Biddle, who within the last few weeks attended his prom at Germantown Friends School and signed a $1.16 million contract, said his biggest adjustment since coming to Florida a week ago "is getting used to this heat. I mean it's hot."
When yesterday's game started, a thermometer near the field hit almost 100.
"I've thrown a couple of bullpens, but mostly I've been in the shade, watching on the side," Biddle said. "Getting in and actually throwing in a game, well, that was phenomenal. I've been wanting to get out there for a long time now."
The last time the 6-4, 225-pound Biddle threw in a game was for Germantown Friends in a state quarterfinal playoff game in May. He finished his senior season at 9-2 with a 1.06 ERA, striking out 140 in 59 1/3 innings.
"It's been a crazy few weeks that's for sure, but it's been great," Biddle said. "Now I just want to do a good job."
He was focused on that yesterday.
"Getting ahead of the hitters and throwing inside," he explained. "I think I did a pretty good job of that. If I missed inside at least I kept it low."