Sunday, April 06, 2008

Allison shows he still has skill

Frequent readers of the main site understand that The Dugout isn’t all about prospects. On Friday, however, a seemingly lost prospect was the story.
Jeff Allison started on the mound for Single-A Jupiter - his first regular season ballgame since 2005. Florida chose Allison with in the first round of the 2003 draft, but the troubled right-hander from Peabody, Mass., hasn’t come close to living up to expectations.
Allison has battle substance abuse problems and legal issues over the past several years. He took the mound on Friday despite being on probation in North Carolina after striking a plea bargain with the Greensboro district attorney on charges that included larceny and drug possession. Here is a story from the Palm Beach Post detailing Allison’s troubles.
Marlins officials on hand for Allison’s performance had to like what they saw. He retired the first five batters and didn’t allow a run through three innings. Things fell apart for Allison in the fourth after right fielder Jeremy Hermida, in Jupiter on a rehab assignment, dropped a routine fly ball.
Allison fell into a bit of a funk after that and didn’t record another out. His fastball hit 93 mph and his offspeed pitches consistently fooled Palm Beach hitters.
Despite the bad fourth, Marlins pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal termed Allison’s first outing “encouraging.” He said stamina problems early in the season are to be expected after a long layoff like Allison’s.
Following the game, Allison said walking out to the mound after his two-year hiatus was “surreal.” He came across as shy and quiet in the clubhouse, reluctant to talk about the past – can you blame him? – or even his first outing.
Still, he seemed pleased to be on the mound again, almost relieved. Allison said his post game plans were to go home and go to bed.The Dugout should get to see a decent amount Allison this season. It will be interesting to see how he handles the grind. Could this be another Josh Hamilton-type success story?

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