GOODYEAR, Ariz. - For now at least, Springfield native and Arizona Indians pitcher Jordan Milbrath can relax somewhat, finish the rest of his season of Rookie League baseball and concentrate on his next assignment.
On Thursday, Milbrath learned he will participate in the Indians Fall Instructional Camp, which is set to begin Sept. 26 and runs until Oct. 15.
For Milbrath, it's a big step in his continued development in the Indians organization. He was hoping he'd get the assignment, so his wish came true.
"It was [Thursday], and they gave us a little packet, not everybody gets to do it, but they give us a packet saying we got invited," Milbrath said. "I had an idea, this just confirmed it. I'm really excited, because it'll give me a chance to better my skills and more focus on fundamental things. It's just honing in on my skills and making them sharper."
Milbrath has thrown a lot of pitches this year, starting in the spring when he pitched for Augustana. After the college season was up, he played in the Northwoods League for the Rochester Honkers before being drafted on June 7 by the Indians.
After signing his professional contract, he reported to Goodyear, Ariz. There, he has a 5.19 ERA and is 1-1 on the season. He's pitched 17 1/3 innings and in 11 games has 12 strikeouts.
As of now, he's working on getting his delivery more in tune to what the Indians want to see.
"There's always something that everyone can work on, but this gives me a chance to work one-on-one and get some feedback on everything that I do in my wind-up and delivery," he said. "The more I can learn, the better I'm going to be in the long run."
Milbrath's Rookie League season ends in about a week. In the meantime while he has some downtime, he'll go back to Sioux Falls to Augustana College, where he will continue to work on getting his degree.
"It'll be nice to get back, I supposed when I'm gone [from Augustana] I'll be doing homework on my off nights," he said.
He's picked up a few miles per hour on his fastball since working professionally. He said he averages about 91-92 mph now.
For now, it sounds like he's progressing through the Indians' system, even if it's small steps at a time here and there.
"I don't know their intentions, but this thing sure puts me on the radar as far as the coaches go," he said. "They'll be down here helping me out everyday so they can see my progress. Hopefully it gives me an opportunity to move up again next year."