DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Sergio Santos is back in the Blue Jays' regular pitching schedule following a lengthy absence to work on his changeup.
Santos pitched one scoreless inning Saturday afternoon against the Braves. It was his first action in a Grapefruit League game since March 7.
Toronto's closer has been physically fine all spring, but the club wanted him to work exclusively in bullpen sessions and Minor League games for a period of time to prepare for the start of the regular season.
"Bullpen sessions and everything for me are a little more intense than most guys, just because I'm zero to 100 -- there's no really in-between for me," Santos said. "The way they saw the ball coming out was going well; they kind of just wanted to slow me down a little bit and really focus on the changeup part of it. I was all for it."
Santos utilized a changeup while with the White Sox last season, but he mostly relied on his fastball-slider combination. The changeup is a pitch he would like to use on a more frequent basis this year, and it needed some extra work.
There were no major changes to the grip, but one slight modification included an adjustment in his handset during the set position that enables Santos to get the ball out of his glove a bit quicker.
Toronto's decision to take a slow approach with Santos didn't come as a surprise to the 28-year-old, and it was something he had put some thought into as well.
"I had been thinking about it that I wanted to work on changeups," said Santos, who is expected to get into five more games during the spring slate. "Going to the Minor League games, I can throw 30 changeups if I wanted to. When I come in and if I give up a 10-spot, people are like, 'What's wrong with you?' and I can just say, 'Look, I was just working on a certain pitch.' It allows me to focus on that one pitch and not have any other distractions."