Blake Snell

Snell feeling ‘strong, confident' after Triple-A rehab start

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SACRAMENTO – Blake Snell’s latest rehab start in the minors went so well that the Giants pitcher was able to joke about the only real mistake he made.

That came in the third inning at when Snell uncorked a wild pitch that sailed over the head of everyone at the plate before coming to a rest near the backstop at Sutter Health Field on Friday.

According to Snell, he and Sacramento River Cats catcher Jakson Reetz had communication problems. Snell had planned on throwing a curveball but Reetz signaled for a fastball as the pitch clock was winding down.

“We went through all the signs, there was one second left, (Reetz) called fastball in,” Snell explained. “I had a curveball grip. I was just like, ‘Waste a pitch.’ And it caused a bit of entertainment. We had a laugh about it.”

That literally was the only asterisk during an otherwise outstanding night for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

In what is possibly, if not likely, his final tune-up, Snell notched 10 strikeouts over five no-hit innings. The crafty left-hander threw 60 pitches (41 strikes), walked one and hit another.

“That was good,” Snell said. “I was repeating pitches, repeating deliveries, correcting mistakes. That’s really all I wanted to see. I feel way better that time through than I did last week. So I’m really excited about that.”

Snell threw 46 pitches for Single-A San Jose last Sunday before dominating the Oklahoma City Baseball Club – the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Snell retired the side in order three times and faced one over the minimum before heading to the bullpen to get in some additional work. Snell said he threw 15 pitches in the bullpen, raising his total to 75 for the night.

“(That’s) where I want to be,” Snell said of the pitch count. “We’ll get back (to San Francisco) tomorrow, talk and see where to go.”

Although the Giants haven’t said yet exactly what the next step will be, Snell looked and sounded a lot like a pitcher ready to return.

The groin injury that landed Snell on the Injured List in late April doesn’t appear to be an issue anymore. Snell said he could feel it at times Friday but he was easily able to push through it.

“I felt it a little bit but it wasn’t anything I worried about. As the game went on I felt stronger and stronger,” Snell said.

Snell had a nice blend of pitches going. His fastball was routinely clocked in the mid-90s, while he mixed in a steady sinker and baffling change-up to keep Oklahoma City’s batters off balance.

The 31-year-old was quite pleased with just about everything he did, other than when he attempted to ramp up the heat on his four-seam fastball.

“My head was kind of getting out of the way instead of staying through and trusting it, trusting my delivery,” Snell said. “That’s probably the only thing I was pretty upset about. Outside of that everything was straight through the plate.”

Now it’s wait and see for Snell, who was the Giants biggest and most prized offseason acquisition after signing a two-year, $62 million deal that includes an opt out after the 2024 season.

The reigning NL Cy Young winner is eager to get back to the majors after going 0-3 with an 11.57 ERA earlier in the season.

“I’m anxious to get back to the big leagues, be myself and to be able to help the team out,” Snell said. “Early on I didn’t help the team at all. Didn’t help myself at all. So being able to feel strong, confident and make the pitches I know I can make, I’m really excited.”

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