July 19, 2012
In a steady rain on Sunday afternoon, David Fischer watched from the top step of the third base dugout in support of fellow righty Brian Rauh as the Auburn Doubledays took on the Connecticut Tigers at Dodd Stadium in Norwich. Despite having pitched four innings two days before arriving in Connecticut and knowing he wouldn’t throw again until the Doubledays returned home, Fischer was excited to return to the state where he played four years of collegiate baseball.
Fischer is one month into his first professional season after being drafted in the 18th round by the Washington Nationals. Auburn is the short-season class A affiliate of the Nationals that play in the New York-Penn League.
Prior to completing his career with the Huskies, Fischer had two previous opportunities to play in the minor leagues. After high school, he was drafted in the 44th round by the Los Angeles Angels and after his junior year at UConn he was taken in the 30th round by the San Francisco Giants.
“Out of high school, I wanted to go to college and get the college experience. I’m really happy I did,” stated Fischer. “I got drafted this year and it’s working out so far. It seems like I’m not too far behind where I would have been.”
On the mound, Fischer, a 6’5 righty from Scotia, N.Y., about two and a half hours from Auburn, has appeared in five games with one start and owns a 1-1 record. Fischer holds a 4.80 earned run average and has struck out 10 batters in 15 innings.
“I’m having a lot of fun. It’s nice knowing that it’s just baseball,” started Fischer. “There is a little bit more rigor on your body just because you’re throwing a lot more. With the Nationals we throw everyday, 15 minutes a day with no days off.”
Even though he has made just one start, Fischer is considered a starter for the Doubledays as they attempt to organize their rotation. In his last game, he made a scheduled appearance out of the bullpen for four innings. Fischer struck out two and earned his first professional win after tossing four innings.
“My arm has gotten in unbelievable shape. I threw 75 pitches the other day and was almost long tossing the next day,” said Fischer. “Before [my arm] would have been hanging really bad.”
That 75-pitch outing was Fischer’s first start. He threw four-hitless innings, before being pulled due to being on a tight pitch count, like all pitchers in the NYPL. Fischer struck out a pair and walked just one in a no-decision.
One of the greatest challenges facing players in rookie ball or short-season A ball is the quick turnaround from college or high school to the pros. This year’s MLB Draft wrapped up on June 7, players reported to their assigned teams on June 15 and the first game of the season was June 18.
“It’s tough because we have to learn the system so quick,” began Fischer. “I’m finally starting to get all the signs down for all the pitches and pick-offs and how everything else is going to work in the team setting. You’ve got to learn quickly and if you don’t learn [the coaches] make you learn.”
Even though he knew he wouldn’t get the call in Norwich this week, Fischer still relished the opportunity to return to a familiar park.
“I love Dodd Stadium,” said Fischer. “It’s my favorite minor league park that I’ve played in to date just because I played here at UConn.”
This spring Fischer pitched against Cincinnati at Dodd and over 5.2 innings struck out seven in a no-decision that the Huskies won 4-3. On Sunday, the Doubledays fell to the host Tigers, 5-4, in 10 innings in front of a crowd of 738.
The trip back to the “Nutmeg State” also allowed Fischer to recall his recent playing days at Connecticut.
“I loved UConn, every minute of it and wouldn’t take it back for anything,” he said. “I still brag about it to all of [my teammates] that I think it’s the best ever. Last year didn’t work out and I said, ‘you know what I’ll come back to get my degree’ and I’m glad I graduated and I’m done now.”