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03/16/09 5:42 PM ET
Sowers pleased with positive results
Left-hander finding success with new pitching philosophy
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jeremy Sowers views the improvements he's showing this spring as an extension of the adjustments he made in the second half of last season.
Though the left-handed Sowers is the first to admit his results in that second half were inconsistent (4-4 record, 5.13 ERA in 13 starts), he said a new mind-set on the mound has helped him drastically alter his attack of the opposition.
"Everything was going in the right direction," Sowers said. "[Former backup catcher] Sal Fasano opened me up to new possibilities, as far as how to approach hitters and become a little less predictable."
Before working with the mustachioed Fasano, who is now with the Rockies on a Minor League contract, Sowers would only throw his two-seam fastball to left-handers and his four-seam fastball to right-handers. Now he's gaining comfort in using either pitch to either side.
"It essentially doubles your options," Sowers said.
In his last two Cactus League outings, Sowers, in the battle for the Tribe's final rotation spot, has been getting positive results out of this new approach. He worked three scoreless innings against Fasano's Rockies on March 11 and allowed just a run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings against the Mariners on Monday. His only real regret was walking Jeff Clement on four pitches in the fourth.
"I was able to command my fastball and work off it," he said. "When you do that, it makes everything else less complicated."
Sowers, who has a 3.00 ERA in five Cactus appearances, is still trying to improve the separation in speeds between his fastball and changeup. He's more caught up in that adjustment than he is in Spring Training results or his position in a crowded fight for the fifth spot.
"This is the one time of year that the stats don't really matter," he said. "It's about the process you're taking. You can take the process to heart without worrying about the results."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.