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ATLANTA — It’s a good thing Mets manager Mickey Callaway pitched Robert Gsellman in an eight-run game in the ninth on Tuesday instead of sending rookie Stephen Nogosek out for his debut. As it turns out, Nogosek found out about his call-up too late for his family to book flights to Atlanta.
On Tuesday, he was at the Atlanta airport because Triple-A Syracuse was coming off a series against Gwinnett and had one in Charlotte next. The organization told Nogosek to stay put because he would be on a later flight to Charlotte. He was told he would receive a call with the official word.
“That was a few hours of stress and anxiety and telling the wife, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, don’t book a flight because I may be in Charlotte tonight,’” Nogosek said.
His family couldn’t have made it on Tuesday, but his mom, dad and wife will be at SunTrust Park on Wednesday.
Rookie Stephen Nogosek talks about finding out he was called up: pic.twitter.com/iZNCYiNpCc
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) June 19, 2019
Nogosek, 24, was 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA over 31 2/3 innings in 19 combined games between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse this season. That’s a large step forward because the right-handed reliever posted a 4.99 ERA over 52 1/3 frames last year.
“I think it was just a confidence issue last year,” Nogosek said. “I was scared to throw it in the zone and it led to a lot of walks. Once I got back to being confident in my ability and being confident in my pitches, that’s when everything started to roll nicely. I’m still working on getting better every day. There’s still a lot to improve on, but I think I took a huge step in the right direction.”
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Nogosek said he overcame the confidence issues by doing what he once feared. He threw his fastball in the zone. He whipped his slider in there. He tossed his changeup in, too.
He suddenly realized, he said, ‘OK, these are plus pitches.’ He added that pitchers can tell themselves it’s a great pitch all they want, but at some point they have to try it, then trust it.
“It’s all about execution and learning and developing each and every day to get better,” Nogosek said.
OK, now Callaway can send Nogosek in to pitch.
“It’s fun,” Callaway said of calling up a rookie. “I can’t wait to see him pitch.”