KANSAS CITY - Standing at his locker, the Pensacola Blue Wahoo was asked a question we’re sure he’s been asked before?
What on earth is a Blue Wahoo?
Kyle Lotzkar, famed fisherman from the west coast, a Cincinnati Reds right-handed prospect and the lone Canadian named to the World roster in the 14th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, had the answer since he is of course a Blue Wahoo himself.
“It’s an elongated fish, maybe two or three feet, with sharp teeth and can weigh about 20 pounds, sort of like a mackerel,” said Lotzkar.
The fisherman has made 10 starts for Pensacola where the speedy sporting fish can be found off shore. He began the season dominating in five starts with the class-A Bakersfield Blaze.
Of course he’s not a first-time Blaze, after pitching for Doug Mathieson’s Langley (B.C.) Blaze which produced Brett Lawrie, Tom Robson and Kellin Deglan, who each held the title as top Canadian selected their respective draft year.
Lotzkar entered with one out in the seventh, his World team trailing USA 16-5 and a man on second. On a 2-1 pitch, he retired Jonathan Singleton on a fly ball to right.
Then, Nolan Arenado reached on an error by the second baseman. Nick Castellanos followed, hitting a 1-1 pitch to right for a single and Rob Brantly flew out to left.
Coming out for the eighth, Lotzkar popped up Christian Yelich on one pitch.
So, Lotzkar worked an inning allowing one hit.
Given a $600,000 signing bonus when Cincinnati Reds scout Bill Byckowski and scouting director Chris Buckley made him the 53rd selection overall in North America, the fact Lotzkar is here is a success story.
There were times when his future was not as bright as it was Sunday afternoon.
Like in 2008, when he had surgery after an olecranon bone elbow fracture.
Making adjustments for the elbow injury, he adjusted his delivery and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2009.
“I’m healthy now,” said Lotzkar. “I’ve had a couple of inconsistent outings, sometimes I lose velocity or can’t find my arm slot.”
He said his velocity is 92-96 m.p.h., the same as it was before the Tommy John surgery. Of Lotzkar’s 16 pitches his fastball saw 92 to 95 m.p.h.
Overall he’s 7-3, with a 3.97 ERA in 16 games, making 15 starts as he’s walked 39 and struck out 95 in 81 2/3 innings.
He does know his fish.
“When I’m at home I fish the Fraser River for salmon, in Florida snapper is in season,” said Lotzkar.
Lotzkar introduced himself to World manager Bernie Williams and then had to fix a problem.
“They have me listed as a left-handed pitcher,” said Lotzkar.
“I think I’d better go straighten that out.”