Kahnle Becoming Reliable

Kahnle is having another strong season

TRENTON, NJ - Entering the 2013 season with his stock clearly on the rise, relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle is putting his old arm injury in the past as he begins to finally make a name for himself out of the Trenton Thunder bullpen.

"Here's a guy who has had some arm injury in the past," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "He is starting to make his way back and he's been outstanding in the role."

Not originally designated to be a closer, Kahnle seems to be excelling at his new found role when he's called.

"We don't generally designate roles and I don't think we designated him as a closer but he's the guy that we've gone to at the end of the game," Franklin continued. "He's been fantastic. He's closed out some games for us very well lately.

"A guy like that always emerges during the season and you don't come into the season with designated role guys, as the new term goes, or set up guys. But he assumes the role as the closer so far. He's one of a number of guys we can call on but for the most part, he's who we rely on."

Since last season, Kahnle has not only added the ability to be relied on but the confidence to match. The 6-foot-1 righty has cleaned up on his pitches that have made him add strikeouts to his performance.

"Sometimes you just leave them alone and let them go pitch and have their outings tell a lot," Franklin said. "I think his confidence has risen. He is a guy who is looking to get the ball in those situations and is disappointed when he doesn't get in that situation.

"I think he is on a pretty good roll and when the game is on the line, it doesn't faze him at all. I think that is one of the attributes that you need to have to pitch in that position. In games, you just can't let things upset you."

"I'm gaining confidence because I'm commanding my fastball better, not as of late but beginning through now, it has been a lot better," Kahnle said. "I'm also getting better control of my slider and my changeup is looking really well too."

"He has a good changeup with good arm speed, a good slider, and definitely good arm strength," Franklin said. "I think he has Major League stuff overall. His ability to throw the ball with good velocity is the number one thing. His fastball has a lot of bottom to it too. He's done a good job."

But even though his pitching has improved, it doesn't mean numbers can be deceiving. Last year, New York native had a 2.45 ERA even though he only let up two home runs and had numerous strikeouts. The blame is said to be finally behind and allowing balls to stay high too long in addition to giving up to many walks, said Kahnle.

This year, however, is a turn around. The 230 pound Kahnle holds a 2.16 ERA, which he admits to be because of his fastball.

"I've been able to get ahead a lot and that helps to put away with the change or the slider," Kahnle said. "I've also been throwing my slider a lot more strikes this year so it is an extra pitch that the hitters have to worry about."

As of right now, Kahnle is working on getting his release point more consistent so he can make the same delivery over and over. He also wants to work more on his slider in hopes of getting as comfortable with it as he is his fastball and changeup.

With his "aggressiveness towards the strike zone" differing him from other pitchers, Kahnle says that he is looking towards his future with the view of not taking anything for granted because of his escape from injury a few years back.

"I work extra hard on things I was already doing," said Kahnle. "It also was probably the moment where things turned around for me and the better."

But for now, he can only hope for his future.

"I think I do have what it takes to move up soon but those little things, like my slider, need to be worked on."

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