MESA, Ariz.–Spring Training is a time for pitchers to experiment with pitches they have never thrown before, and for the Cubs pitching staff, it is no different. Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been working with the entire Cubs pitching staff in developing a new pitch which he likes to call a “strike.”
“I just figured it was about time some of these guys learned a new pitch,” Rothschild said sleepily. “I know that Zambrano has that nasty slider and Hill has that big curveball, but it’s good to keep the batters on their toes,” he continued, smoothing out his creased pajama top.
“Imagine how much filthier Hill’s breaking ball in the dirt will be if the batter has, in the back of his mind: ‘Hey. It’s possible on this 3-0 pitch that this kid might actually throw a strike,'” Rothschild mused as he wiped crust from the corner of his eye.
Jason Marquis experiments with a “strike” moments before a ball is lined back at his face.
Successfully throwing the new pitch might not be easy.
“It’s a learning process,” Rothschild said, stifling a yawn. “These guys aren’t used to throwing a strike, so there are going to be some problems with it initially. Take Prior, for instance. Every strike he threw the other day got drilled,” Rothschild said as he eased back into a reclined position.
“But don’t worry. He’ll figure it out. And if he doesn’t, he can always go back to throwing balls.”