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News » Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-03-01

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-03-01

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2009-03-01
Don Wakamatsu wasn't in Seattle to see the sometimes painful work put in by the Seattle pitching staff last year, except those games he saw from across the field as the bench coach in Oakland.

Between what he saw and what he heard about from those still in the organization, he has one major goal in mind for his pitchers: Get on the mound with a plan, then throw the ball.

Wakamatsu wants his pitchers to work quickly, even in spring training. Make that especially in spring training, because working quickly is a habit that can carry over into the regular season.

"We're going to constantly talk to these guys about picking up the tempo," Wakamatsu said. "As we go forward, that's going to be a big deal. As a former catcher, they're going to hear a lot about that from me."

The ability to keep time between pitches low has long been regarded as one of the ways to keep a defense humming smoothly. It's also a way to force batters to get out of their comfort zone.

And opposing baserunners would rather have the tempo slow, the better to steal bases.

"Whether it's pitching, or basketball or the no-huddle offense in football, it's the same premise," pitching coach Rick Adair said. "It's taking what you do and having a pace that attacks the opposition.

"We look at it as having another weapon. If we can get hitters calling timeout a lot, we're in business."

Pitchers are always going to be under pressure to pitch smart, to pitch to corners and to out-think the hitter. Just rushing the ball to the plate won't help.

What Wakamatsu and Adair are looking for is a combination of efficiency and effectiveness. So they are considering if they'll work with a time limit in between pitches in their bullpen sessions.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 1, 2009

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