Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Zink's Road To Fenway

Charlie Zink will make his MLB debut tonight against the Rangers, an event that would seem very unlikely a few years ago. Zink pitched at the Savannah College of Art and Design for 3 years compiling a record of 9-17, he did have 14 K's in one game. Luis Tiant managed Zink in college and recommended him to the Red Sox. He was signed by the Sox as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He spent most of 2002 in Augusta and Sarasota playing A-Ball. In 2003 he was called up to the Portland Sea Dogs after he pitched a 3-hit complete game and was later named the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Zink faced a setback in his career in 2004 when he spent most of the season on the DL with shoulder problems, an injury very similar to what Wake has now. In 2005 he played for the PawSox for the first time but would be sent back to Portland where he struggled for part of the season with a 6.36 ERA in July. In 2006 he split the season between the Sea Dogs and the PawSox as both a reliever and a starter. He was much more effective when he started and earned 10 wins, mostly with Portland. In 2007 he had 11 wins and this season he was an International League All-Star and is 13-4 for the season. Zink talked about the throwing a knuckleball in 2007.

I actually figured out how to throw the knuckleball when I was 11 I think. I saw Wakefield throwing it during the playoffs for the pirates and I was just fascinated. It came really easy to me and I would always throw it playing catch, However, I didn’t throw a knuckleball in a game until 2002. All of my coaches growing up said it was stupid and I shouldn't mess around with it.

I worked with Wakefield a few times every spring training for the past four years. He has been really helpful in just teaching the little things that I never knew before about how to be consistent. I think I've learned the most by just watching him and seeing how he pitches in different situations. I also worked with Charlie Hough for about a week during spring training two years ago. He was extremely helpful and it was nice to have another person to talk to about the knuckleball.



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