SARASOTA, Fla. - That escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. It jumped up a notch.
Ryan Drese was charged with five runs and seven hits in three innings. That’s no way to compete for a starting job.
Kevin Gregg talked about the mechanical adjustment, which didn’t prevent him from serving up Brett Wallace’s grand slam.
(Is it just me, or has Wallace already played for half the teams in the majors?)
“Me and Goose (Mark Connor) have been working on, for the last week, some mechanical changes. Obviously, they are not turning into good results on the field. Tinker with one thing and it messes up another thing,” said Gregg, who didn’t allow a run in his first four appearances.
“I know I threw the ball well early, but it was something they thought I should try to change and improve. I tried to make that adjustment a little bit but it is throwing off some other mechanics in the midst of it. So Goose said we’ll take a step back, go back to where we were and see how that works.”
Asked what he’s working on, Gregg said, “Leaning forward instead of leaning back a little back when you come down on the mound. He wanted me to lean forward, but by leaning forward I was kind of drifting toward the third base side and I was cutting myself off, and now I can’t get anything back over across the plate. It’s a little thing. He thought it might help me out to kind of lean forward. Obviously, it’s not working very well. So we’ll make the adjustment and go back the other way.”
The purpose of leaning forward is to “be a little more on-balance and not try to control the way the ball sinks,” he said. “If you lean back and kind of lean away from it, the ball kind of has the sense to run across instead of sink. So you try to go this way get the ball to go down. So I am going this way, but I can’t get anything to go back across the other side of the plate. The cutters and curveballs I throw they go up the plate this way because I am throwing against my body and I am not aligning my hips and shoulders.”
Brad Bergesen also has made a few adjustments over the last few days.
“Working more on my sinker,” he said. “I was really actually happy with how I threw my sinker today. Got in a little jam and gave up the big hit, but overall, there was a lot of positives to take out of today. My pitch count was down. Those are little things that I was happy about and try to focus on.”
He could do without the four-pitch walks.
“That’s not good,” he said. “I try to make my living throwing strikes, so for me to walk two straight guys on four pitches is not a good thing for me. It’s spring, it’s March. It’s never OK, but we’re getting our work in right now. Just got to keep working on that.”
Bergesen has allowed nine earned runs and 16 hits, with five walks, in his last 9 2/3 innings.
“I know that the numbers aren’t good the last three outings, but it’s early, it’s spring training,” he said. “We’re competitors, so you never like having those type of numbers or giving up runs, but at the same time, you’re not going to let that affect you mentally right now. It’s still way too early. You can’t let those start getting to you ever, and definitely not in spring. You wait for the season for that.”
Bergesen threw in the bullpen instead of coming out for the fifth inning.
“I didn’t know what the plan was,” he said. “I thought I was going to go five. I thought I was going to go back out there, but they said the plan all along was just four innings for me. He had me just go down and finish up with another 25 or 30 pitches in the bullpen.”
So where does he need to be before the opener?
“I think just putting it all together, just getting in a rhythm, finding a tempo for myself, just attacking guys like I did, getting ahead of guys,” he said. “That allows me to get strike one and strike two, and then I can go to work on guys. That’s really my style, so that’s where I need to get to these next couple starts.”