Lázaro Blanco:”Doing my best is ingrained in my brain every time I take the mound.”

Cuban pitcher Lázaro Blanco spoke to Pelota Cubana about his first season in the Mexican Baseball League and his recovery after the mishap suffered last year in LIDOM when he was hit in the face by a line drive from his countrymen Henry Urrutia.

The native of Granma,Cuba is in his first season with the Bravos de León of the Liga Mexicana de Béisbol. Blanco has started 5 games this season where he has yet to taste victory and has been on the losing end on a couple of occasions. On the campaign he has a 5.84 earned run average and a 1.95 WHIP.

From 2017-2019 Lázaro Blanco was the most dominant pitcher in the Serie Nacional compiling a record of 33-15. His dominance earned him a contract with the Quebec Capitales, during his time in Canada he had a record of 16-7, ERA of 3.12 and 219 K’s. All this was over the span of two seasons and in 2017 he led the Capitales to a league title.

The crafty hurler was the anchor to the Cuban pitching staff in the World Baseball Classic, Pan-Am Games, Premier 12, and Central American Games. In the last National Series, Blanco posted a 7-1 record with the Alazanes de Granma and had a 2.30 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched.

On the national team, the pitcher has an 8-4 record, a 2.79 PCL and 80 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched. In the Caribbean Series, he has been nearly unhittable posting a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 1.22.

You have pitched in several professional leagues in your career. Compare the level of talent in the Mexican League with those circuits?

I’ve already been to several pro circuits, Panama, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic (although I couldn’t pitch much) and now here in Mexico. Baseball here is very different, there are many trips and the number of games is similar to that in Cuba when I started, so one adapts. I prepared very well for the season and I feel in perfect condition.

You’ve had some good starts this season, but you haven’t been able to win a game yet. How do you deal with the fact that you are pitching well and the offense has not responded on some occasions?

That’s baseball, it’s a collective sport and the team always goes out to give it their all on the field. I had some good starts early in the season where I wasn’t lucky enough to win, as the team couldn’t produce with the bat in those games. I prepare myself psychologically the same way every time I’m going to pitch. Baseball is game of inches and in reference to the victories, I am not worried because eventually they will come.

After an unfortunate injury in LIDOM, how did you come back from these situation?

It was very difficult since a line drive hit me in the face and I was unable to pitch for three months. I came back mentally prepared or so I thought, but the first practices were difficult, whenever I threw a pitch I felt a little afraid and made a gesture as if to avoid the ball unconsciously. Little by little I lost my fear in the preseason, but, thank God, I have completely lost my fear of the ball now.

This year you have the highest walk percentage of your career. Do you think this is due to the increase in your velocity?

I don’t think that’s the reason, I think it’s the adjustments at the start of the season, because I am in a new league that I am trying to get accustomed to. There were more walks in my first outings, in my last start I only handed out two walks. I am still is making adjustments. I feel better than I have ever felt in my career, I’ve hit a whopping 94 miles per hour on the radar gun and to augment my velocity also feel very healthy, too.

Do you have any personal goals for the season in the Mexican League?

Every time I go out I want to give it my best effort. Doing my best is ingrained in my brain every time I take the mound. Helping my team in any way possible is the most important thing for me every time I toe the rubber.

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