Early innings a breeze for Sampson
Right-hander nearly perfect to open game against New York
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Chris Sampson breezed through four innings before being roughed up in the fifth on Sunday, but no one seemed to be overly concerned about the latter part of the right-hander's performance.
Sampson has had only two outings this spring, and prior to this start, he hadn't thrown since March 7. Stretching it to five frames was probably a little bold, and Sampson admitted he "hit a wall" -- which was to be expected.
"My arm slot got a little low, and with my arm, I hit a wall," Sampson said. "I wasn't breathing heavy and I didn't feel exhausted out there. My arm, I guess, I hit a wall with it. I didn't seem to get my arm up. Leaving the ball up and no movement -- good hitters will make you pay for those."
Sampson was nearly perfect through the first four innings against the Mets. He issued a two-out walk to Olmedo Saenz in the first frame but then retired 10 in a row.
"Sampson was good," manager Cecil Cooper said. "He just ran out of gas at the end there. I was very happy with what I saw."
Cooper was encouraged by quite a few performances on Sunday, including offensive showings by Jose Cruz Jr. and Humberto Quintero. The skipper also continues to sing the praises of left-hander Wesley Wright, the Rule 5 draftee who has held his opponents scoreless in five of his six outings this spring and has a 1.35 ERA.
"Wesley Wright continues to climb the charts, climb the ladder," Cooper said. "[He] keeps gaining confidence every time out there. We'll keep giving him a chance. The young man has a world of potential. He just needs experience and exposure."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.