ROCHESTER — Brady Lail said he wasn’t expecting it, but then again, no player who spent parts of four seasons at Triple-A would ever really expect to be sent down.
Especially after the way this year started, too. Lail shifted out of the rotation and into the bullpen and was 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA after April. May got a little tougher, and then he allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings in June.
Despite 296.2 Triple-A innings under his belt, Lail was sent down to Double-A on June 29.
“I know I was going through my struggles,” Lail said Monday in Rochester after rejoining the RailRiders. “I’d been trying to adapt a role a little too hard instead of just getting out there and pitch. And I think that’s what got in my head a little earlier. So, when I went down, it was frustrating for sure because I feel a lot older than I actually am. I’m still only 24 and I’ve been up here and I’ve tasted this and I’ve been close to pushing the hand for a call up. But at those points you’re doing that stuff, I get too excited and too anxious. So, I needed a little bit of breath of fresh air down there with that group and get back to loving the game and enjoying it and finding that reason why I play this game.”
At 24 — he’ll be 25 on Aug. 9 — Lail is one of the youngest players on the RailRiders roster. Only Justus Sheffield (22), Abiatal Avelino (23), Chance Adams (23), Erik Swanson (23) and Nestor Cortes (23) are younger. That didn’t stop Lail from evaluating where he was in his career, however.
“I kind of got to a point that I was irritated in my performance and I don’t think I was getting out everything that I was going into the day for with all my work before the games,” Lail said. “Early (this) year, I just kept looking that obviously I’m growing up, that I’m having a baby — ‘Is this really my calling?’ and all that stuff. So, all those little thoughts were coming through. Being able to go down there (to Trenton), like I said, and finding that love again and getting back to what got me here in the first place it was huge.”
Lail said he found what he was looking for in Trenton. He’s back to loving the grind. He had a 4.08 ERA in 17.2 innings in Trenton. He struck out 117 and walked seven.
“I felt older and all that stuff, but yeah it made me realize that I’m still young and I’m still going I’m still healthy — knock on wood — but it’s just getting back to getting that grind and forcing peoples’ hands to do whatever. Just glad to be back.”