As a kid reared in Minooka, Ill., some 45 minutes south of Chicago, Mike Foltynewicz grew up hard. He had to. He was a Cardinals fan, the ultimate blasphemy in the Cubs’ backyard.
“A lot of trash talk,” he said. “My mom’s brother is a Cubs fan, so it’s all in the family. Being from Illinois and Chicago, being a Cardinals fan, it’s not going to fly too much.”
When Foltynewicz starts against the White Sox on Sunday afternoon, he will still be wary of stirring up old emotions, even though it won’t have anything to do with the Cubs or Wrigley Field. But it will be back in Chicago and the first and only other time he pitched here, he acknowledges his emotions got the better of him.
It came at Wrigley on Aug. 20, and he was shelled: seven runs on eight hits, a couple of homers and six walks. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning in the worst performance of his major league career.
“I’ll try to be a little bit more calm this time,” he said. “Last year, I had to deal with a lot of emotions, being home for the first time. So it’s something I’ve got to work on anyway, to keep my emotions under control. I’ve got to relax, don’t overthrow anything and just go out there and pitch like I have before. Relax and attack guys.”
Under original plans, Foltynewicz (2-3, 4.29) would be making this start with Triple-A Gwinnett as the second rehab outing following his DL stint for a sore elbow. Though he was on the DL for 33 days, he was activated ahead of schedule when John Gant went down with an strained oblique.
His first game back Monday did not go well. He gave up four homers in a 5-1 loss in Philadelphia
“Everything feels line, and I just got to get back to getting the ball down and getting the off-speed stuff a little more refined,” he said.
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