Duguay making presence his felt  on pitching staff   

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff

  He leads the Appy League in strikeouts with 48 and was at his best Saturday night, collecting the victory over the Bristol White Sox.
  But there's one thing that helps Steven Duguay's cause -- he's practically playing in his backyard.
  The Fleetwood, N.C., ace graduated from Watauga High School in Boone, N.C.
  There's a lot to the Duguay story, including a strong comeback from Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm at the JUCO level with Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla.
  Perhaps nothing is as special as this season, in which he has risen to become one of the top guys on the Twins staff.
  He was named Appy League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending July 18.
  "He's got a bright future," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "He's been blessed with a good arm and a tremendous work ethic. He's a difference maker. He thinks about what he wants to do and he has a pitch plan out there."
  Duguay got his confidence back Saturday after not faring well in his last outing against the Greeneville Astros.
  He threw seven strikeouts against Bristol.
  "I was (trying to bounce back)," Duguay said. "I was sort of all around the zone in the last game I threw and I did a little bit better job of locating my fastball."
  Locating his pitches is something that has helped him throughout the season.
  "He's pretty consistent and he has three good pitches," added Smith. "He's working both sides of the plate, going east and west, and that makes it pretty tough. He had a pretty good feel tonight."
  As of Saturday's win, he stands with a 2.52 ERA, having allowed just 10 earned runs.
  Leading the league in strikeouts is not something that Duguay credits himself for. He is quick to point out his teammates in the field.
  "It's the guys behind me. They make me comfortable and they make good plays," he said. "I feel comfortable on the mound because I know if I make a mistake, they'll pick me up. If they make a mistake, I try to pick them up."
  Duguay was drafted after a strong junior season at Gulf Coast. He had the surgery on his right elbow three days before the opening game in his sophomore campaign.
  His numbers show that he has rebounded pretty well.
  "That says a lot about the physicians and doctors we have nowadays, they are able to correct those problems and he's been able to blow 93 and 94 out there," said Smith.
  As for Elizabethton, Duguay likes the fact that his family is able to make the short drive to see him play, unlike the previous year in Fort Myers with the Gulf Coast League Twins, where they saw him just once.
  "It's really cool that they get to see me play. They haven't seen me play (regularly) since high school," he said.