Yanks prospect throws six hitless innings

Yanks prospect throws six hitless innings

Adam Warren, outside North Carolina for the first time in 21 years, is quickly learning that things are different in New York City.

Different in a good way.

Warren (2-1), the Yankees' fourth-round pick in last month's Draft, fired six hitless innings in his fourth professional start Friday as the Staten Island Yankees beat the State College Spikes, 4-2.

"It's definitely different, but I'm enjoying it," said Warren, a 6-foot-1 right-hander who feels "honored" to wear Yankees pinstripes. "I've adapted. Just being with guys who are new here too has helped me. It's really starting to come together."

Warren struck out five and left after reaching his pitch count. He faced 18 batters and induced seven grounders and five fly balls to pick up his second win.

"It was a little frustrating, but I understand it; as far as pitch counts go, they have a plan," said Warren, who threw 70 pitches. "They make sure they take care of our arms, so I understand."

Warren and the Yankees have won seven straight heading into the weekend, and the 21-year-old's hitless effort has everyone smiling.

"The Yankees, there's so much history. To be a part of it, it's a great honor," said Warren, who was selected by New York with the 135th overall pick in June. "Once we heard, me and my family started jumping up and down. It was a happy day. This is a great honor."

The University of North Carolina product, whose fastball sits between 89-92 mph, has allowed three earned runs over 17 innings to begin his career, with all three coming in his debut on July 1 against Lowell. Since then, he has held opponents to six hits in 15 innings.

"I felt good, I got better as I went on, especially my curve and slider," he said. "I improved during the game. I was making adjustments and they were key for me tonight."

Warren also has made more of a symbolic adjustment since coming to New York -- he modeled himself after a pair of notorious Yankee-killers, Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett, while pitching for the Tar Heels.

"Well, I'm going with Mike Mussina now that I'm a Yankee," Warren laughed. "Really any pitcher that gives their team a chance to win -- a bulldog on the mound. That's what I admire."

Yankee fans will quickly warm to Warren if he can produce a Mussina-like 20-win season some day. For now, he's taking it inning-by-inning in the New York-Penn League.

"In college, I was used to going 100-plus pitches, but I haven't been past five innings here, so it's a little different this past month," he said. "I don't think I was getting tired tonight, I was getting stronger as I went on. The coaches really work hard to make sure we're in shape."

Warren struck out Butch Biela and Evan Chambers to end the first before issuing a leadoff walk to Aaron Baker in the second. He induced an inning-ending double play, then cruised through six before getting pulled.

"I guess top of the fourth, I looked up and saw it [was a no-hitter]," said Warren. "I tried to play it down a bit, I knew I wouldn't finish the game with my pitch count. I just wanted to give our team a chance to win."

Warren, a New Bern, N.C., native, appeared on the Yankees' radar when he went 12-0 with a 2.17 ERA in 15 appearances as a sophomore in 2007. A Cape Cod League veteran, he finished his junior season 9-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 18 starts before being drafted 135th overall.

"Playing against guys who were the best in college, the talent takes a step up here," he said. "As far as pitching, getting that first strike is huge. You need to hit your spots, you can't just throw it hard or you're going to be punished. That's the biggest thing I've learned."

Staten Island scored in three of the first four innings to give its starter a four-run cushion. Gavin Brooks relieved Warren in the seventh and surrendered a two-out double to Evan Chambers to end the no-hit bid.

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.