Though we haven’t seen much of his drop down delivery in games this spring, St. Louis Cardinals lefty Nick Greenwood has continued to work on his new side-armed breaking pitch.
“I haven’t really thrown that in a game,” said Greenwood recently. “The other day I kind of got burned–I tried a side-armed fastball. It’s been pretty good lately but the one I threw, it just happened to be straight and kind of flicked it in to right field. Other than that, I haven’t thrown to many of them. Just not the right situations, the right counts.”
Greenwood began working on the pitch during Winter Ball in the Dominican to help combat scouting reports that may have noticed he only threw a fastball when he dropped down to the side.
Flat ground throwing sessions have provided a way to work on building confidence in the pitch, but Greenwood has been more focused on keeping his changeup down in the zone but has been pleased with fastball command and slider.
Greenwood has pitched 4.0 innings in four appearances this spring, allowing three earned runs on five hits with a pair of strikeouts and a walk.
“Just trying to work on stuff and put up good results and get the arm in shape for the season,” said Greenwood, who is expecting to again be ready for long relief, one out, or even a spot start. “Right now, you just kind of want to build your way up for when the season starts.”
Besides physically preparing, Greenwood has also been paying attention to veterans like Carlos Villanueva and Matt Belisle. Though both are right-handed, both have filled similar roles in their career.
“Definitely both those guys,” confirmed Greenwood. “Attack hitters and just want to get a three pitches or less kind of mentality. They’ve been through it. It’s good to see, it’s better to watch it–I get a little more out of watching then telling.”
–Referenced by Rick Horton during the FSN broadcast of the game, Springfield (AA) pitching coach Jason Simontacchi has been busy this spring hitting fungos at pitchers as part of a fielding drill. Spongy balls are used to help protect the pitchers, who simulate a delivery and then have a fungo hit back at them from close range by Simontacchi or another coach.
Horton related that he was asked by former teammate Jerry Reuss to do the same during their days in Los Angeles, with the veteran not minding an occasional shot off his shin in the process of sharpening his glove work.