Drabek progressing with modified mechanics

Drabek progressing with modified mechanics

Drabek progressing with modified mechanics
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Kyle Drabek continues to make progress with his modified mechanics during the middle stages of Spring Training.

The Toronto right-hander arrived at camp in February and was tasked with throwing his bullpen sessions between a pair of yellow lines on the mound.

The goal was to force Drabek to stay on line while in his delivery and not tail off to the first-base side. That's been working relatively well as Drabek attempts to put last year's disappointing season behind him.

"The early work, even in his two-inning stint down in Bradenton, results, setting them aside, he was able to maintain the lines that we've talked about," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Drabek's outing on Wednesday in which he allowed three runs in two innings.

"What that shows is that even though there might have been that added emotion in there, or adrenaline, facing Major League hitters and some adverse situations he didn't come out of his delivery as we've seen in the past."

Drabek's difficulty dealing with adversity is something that plagued him during the 2011 season. He went 4-5 with a 6.06 ERA in 78 2/3 innings and often got visibly frustrated on the mound when things didn't go his way.

Keeping those emotions in check is something the Blue Jays have talked at great length about with the 24-year-old righty. During an outing last week against the Pirates, there was a prime example of where some calls behind the plate didn't go his way and Drabek had to deal with the fallout.

"The one thing that you can sense during some pitches that didn't go his way there was a little bit of frustration there," Farrell said. "The one thing we highlighted the next day in a little bit of a review for his outing, those have to be looked upon as opportunities, not frustrations.

"That's a 180 that he has to do mentally when those borderline calls don't happen, he's got to earn those and so by turning it around in his mind is an opportunity to make another pitch and prove that he can repeat that. That's when he's going to earn those calls from the umpires standing behind home plate."

Drabek was supposed to pitch three innings against the Braves in Kissimmee on Sunday afternoon, but his outing was cut short after just one frame because of rain.