"It's been kind of hit and miss," said Cecil, who allowed four
earned runs over 5 1/3 innings on Thursday. "I thought it might have been a mechanical problem. I felt better today throwing the
fastball than [against the] Yankees, when I felt like I was throwing changeups every pitch."
The 24-year-old sat down with pitching coach Bruce Walton and
watched video from that outing last Saturday against New York. The
two felt Cecil might have been coming out of his delivery a little
too soon, but after fixing that problem on Thursday, the velocity
still wasn't there.
2010 Spring Training - null
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
That has the native of Maryland looking for other possible reasons
behind his fastball woes.
"It could be as simple as I'm trying to throw the ball too hard
and gripping the ball too tight, and it's coming out slower," said
Cecil, who is now 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA in five starts this spring.
"Like Ricky [Romero] said after my first inning or second inning, it looked like I was trying to be too fine with the fastball. Everything else, I'm loose and throwing my pitches well."
Cecil experienced a similar problem when he was pitching in
the Minor Leagues. He was told by Triple-A Las Vegas pitching
coach Dave LaRoche to go into a bullpen session and throw strictly
fastballs at full intensity without worrying about location.
It worked, and that's Cecil's next plan of attack as he expects to
"let it fly" during side session at the beginning of next week. He
is scheduled to open the season as the club's No. 3 starter, but still has one more Grapefruit League outing to work
out the kinks.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell noted that this is a type of problem
a lot of pitchers encounter during the early stages of the season.
He isn't overly concerned that it will become a long-term issue.
"There are no physical issues here," Farrell said. "Each side
outing, each game that he's entered or come out of, he's felt very
"Pitchers will take different paths in terms of gaining their
velocity at some point in the season. It's not uncommon for some
guys to get it towards the latter part of April. The fact remains
he has weapons to pitch effectively, even if his velocity isn't
where it will be in midseason form."
Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the
Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.