TORONTO -- Kyle Drabek's progression -- both physically and mentally -- is something that has caught the attention of Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
"He's certainly further along," Farrell said about the in-game adjustments Drabek has been able to make so far. "Through his challenges from a year ago, he's learned more about himself, and I think that's what maturity is about -- recognizing certain situations that might cause that emotional spike, when to back off, when to regroup, when to let certain things go that you have no control over. ... He's doing a much better job in all those areas."
Drabek got off to a good start by throwing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a win against the Red Sox on Tuesday. The Blue Jays are hoping that his well-documented struggles from last season are a thing of the past.
The 24-year-old bounced back and forth between Toronto and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2011, finishing the season with a 4-5 record and 6.06 ERA while issuing 6.29 walks per nine innings.
Drabek, who entered Spring Training battling for a spot in the rotation, worked diligently with Toronto pitching coach Bruce Walton to refine his mechanics and improve his ability to repeat his delivery. Part of that was using yellow lines on the mound to make sure he landed in the same spot consistently. He impressed the Blue Jays' staff enough to earn himself a spot in the rotation.
"A very talented young pitcher," Farrell said. "When he keeps himself under control, he can be as good as anybody we have in our rotation. "He possesses the physical abilities equal to anybody else in our rotation."