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Cecil striving to pick up some speed

Cecil striving to pick up some speed

Cecil striving to pick up some speed play video for Cecil striving to pick up some speed
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Brett Cecil was visibly frustrated following his outing against the Braves on Thursday afternoon because of a continuing lack of velocity on his fastball.

Cecil says his fastball has been clocked at 86-88 mph this spring, though he normally throws in the low 90s.

The Blue Jays left-hander said his arm feels great, and there continues to be movement on all of his pitches. The drop in speed remains a mystery that leaves Cecil searching for answers.

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"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.

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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 good, physically.

"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."

Gregor 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.

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{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }