By Joyce Erekson
Former Classical High/Hartford University pitcher Kyle Gauthier is making some noise this summer as a free agent with the Arizona League Padres, a rookie-level minor league team affiliated with the San Diego Padres.
The 6-4, 220 pound righty has appeared in five games (as of July 10). In eight innings pitched he has allowed only five hits, walked one and struck out 10. He has an earned run average of 1.13.
Although the temperature, which was a sizzling 100-110 degrees when he arrived in late June, the experience has been just the opposite.
“It’s been pretty cool so far,” Gauthier said. “The hitters are a lot more aggressive than they were in college. They kind of swing at everything.”
Although Gauthier didn’t get drafted, he signed a free agent agreement with the San Diego Padres. The Arizona League Padres play their home games at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona, the spring training home of the San Diego Padres.
“I couldn’t really pass up on this chance,” Gauthier said. “I think it’s worth it. “
Gauthier said the team plays four games in a row followed by a day off. So far, all his appearances have been in relief. He said on a typical game day, players will arrive at the park around 2-2:30 p.m., stretch out and practice for an hour to an hour and a half. They’ll break for dinner followed by a 7 p.m. game.
As far as the traveling goes, Gauthier said none of the teams they play against are more than an hour away. The players are housed at a nearby hotel during the season, which runs from mid-June until the end of August.
Gauthier said although the Arizona heat feels “like walking into an oven,” it has its benefits.
“I’ve felt pretty good (in all of his appearances). The heat helps my arm stay loose,” Gauthier said.
Gauthier said the team is a mixture of young players, many from the Dominican Republic, players coming out of high school and players like himself who are out of college.
“It’s been fun so far,” Gauthier said. “It’s a bunch of good, decent kids.
Gauthier is coming off an impressive senior season at Hartford. He finished 5-2 with a team-best 2.76 earned run average. He struck out 48 in 75 innings pitched and held hitters to a .233 batting average. He was 2nd Team All-America East and a four-time America East Pitcher of the Week. Gauthier had 14 career wins and started 43 games, a program record. He had a 3.86 career earned run average over 282 innings pitched. Gauthier majored in finance and insurance at Hartford.