READING — He was pitching in the snow, fighting off a bout with dizziness and battling early-game wildness, yet somehow Reading righthander Franklyn Kilome persevered.
A member of the Phillies 40-man roster, Kilome had mixed emotions about his opening start this season and rightly so.
His line in Monday’s 6-5 win over Portland was a mixed bag: four innings, three runs (two earned), two walks, two hit batters and eight strikeouts.
“It ended for him on a really good note,” Reading manager Gregg Legg said.
The beginning wasn’t so hot. Neither was the game-time temperature, which was 39 degrees and falling. A light snow fell during most of the game.
After allowing a first-inning run, he surrendered two runs in the second on two hits, two walks and a hit batter. And that wasn’t the worst part of the inning. The game was briefly stopped when Legg and the training staff met the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Kilome on the mound. It turns out he was sick that day and was feeling dizzy on the mound.
“I was seeing double out there,” he said.
Eventually, he walked around the mound, threw a few warm-up pitches, regained his poise, started feeling a little better and was good enough to continue pitching. He ended with two shutout innings and for the evening threw 83 pitches, 45 for strikes.
“It was a gutsy performance,” Legg said.
Besides feeling ill, it was the first time this product of the Dominican Republic pitched in the snow.
“It was cold but not that much when you start warming up and you feel pretty good,” Kilome said.
Kilome, who will turn 23 in June, is coming off an impressive year. He had a 2.59 ERA in 19 starts at advanced Single-A Clearwater and then posted a 3.64 ERA in five late-season starts at Reading.
On Monday, his fastball was in the 91-94-mph range. His best pitch was his curve.
“He had a couple of really nasty hooks in there,” Legg said.
Despite being on the 40-man roster and now one step closer to Philadelphia while at Reading, Kilome insists he is not looking ahead at a potential future with the Phillies.
“No, that is something that is not in my head,” he said. “I have to do my job the best I can. At the end of the day, I don’t make the decision.”
He acknowledges that being placed on the 40-man roster in November did wonders for his confidence.
“I feel great about that,” Kilome said. “They gave me the opportunity to be on the 40-man roster, and that means they believe in me.”
Legg sees vast potential in Kilome.
“He has great upside, a great arm, a great hook,” Legg said. “It is a matter of getting out there and getting on the mound and logging innings.”
Signed as a minor-league free agent in January 2013, Kilome began his career in the Phillies organization in 2014 when he appeared in 11 games covering 40 1/3 innings with the Gulf Coast Phillies.
To Legg’s point, Kilome simply needs innings to improve. Last season, he threw a career-high 127 innings between Clearwater and Reading.
“I am looking to pitch more innings, be consistent with my pitches and stuff like that,” said Kilome, who throws a fastball, curve, slider and change-up. “I will keep going and work hard and do the best I can.”
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