One week into his professional baseball career, Thomas Kahnle is exhibiting the talent that made him an early-round draft pick.
The former Shaker High School star pitched two hitless innings of relief in last Friday's New York-Penn League game between the Staten Island Yankees and the Tri-City ValleyCats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy. That performance was on top of two previous perfect innings he pitched in his first two games since joining the Yankees on Aug. 8.
It's going pretty good, I think, Kahnle said of his adjustment to pro baseball.
Kahnle " who was drafted by New York in the fifth round of June's amateur draft " is used to being dominant on the pitcher's mound. The Latham native recorded 158 strikeouts in his 2-year career at Lynn University in Florida and threw four complete games including a no-hitter this past season.
But Kahnle is also a work in progress. He's become a full-time reliever with the Yankees, and he's working on a second pitch to go along with his fastball, which was clocked in the mid-90 m.p.h. range during his two innings of work against the ValleyCats.
"I want to work on my fastball command and a breaking ball " a second quality pitch," said Kahnle.
Kahnle entered his pro career having some relief experience. He was Lynn University's closer during the 2009 NCAA Division II World Series, which provided him with the opportunity to throw the last pitch in the Knights' championship-clinching victory.
"Probably winning the Division II World Series was the best [memory] for me " for now," said Kahnle, who finished the World Series with a 1-0 record, five saves and 12 strikeouts in 12.2 innings to earn the Most Outstanding Player award.
Kahnle's appearance against Tri-City last Friday was his first in the Capital District since 2008, which gave him a rare opportunity to pitch in front of his family and friends.