Pirates notebook: Volquez focused on process, not poor results
BRADENTON , Fla. — Seeing is believing for Edinson Volquez.
In the McKechnie Field clubhouse this spring, the Pirates' coaching staff has shown Volquez his 2008 mechanics vs. his 2013 throwing motion on a split screen in the video room.
In 2008, Volquez was a National League All-Star as a rookie.
In 2013, Volquez had the highest ERA in baseball among qualifiers (5.71), despite pitching at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is trying to get Volquez back to his 2008 delivery when he had a more direct line to home plate, which helped his command. Too often since his Tommy John surgery in 2009, Volquez has opened up his front side too early in his delivery.
While the numbers were once again poor vs. the Rays on Saturday — Volquez allowed five hits, two walks, four runs (two earned) over 3 1⁄3 innings — the right-hander said he is feeling more comfortable with the delivery change.
“The numbers don't look good, but the process is coming along really good right now,” Volquez said. “Like (Saturday) I felt really good with my line to the plate. The first couple games I kind of flew open. The front side was open. Before (Saturday's game) we worked in the bullpen. It's pretty close.”
While they are just spring training stats, they are ugly. Volquez has allowed 14 hits, 13 runs (11 earned) and five walks in nine spring innings for a staff-worst 11.00 ERA.
Throughout the spring, throughout Saturday, Volquez's fastball command has been spotty.
If Volquez can more often throw strike one, batters will be more susceptible to his quality changeup. Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce swung and missed at the changeup twice for a strikeout in the first inning, one of four strikeouts for Volquez.
“The consistency is the challenging part right now,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “You see some nice sequences. The completeness of it is not taking place. He's staying positive, working hard. We are still very optimistic.”
Volquez was thought to be the favorite to earn the No. 5 spot in the rotation entering the spring.
Said Volquez: “I'm trying to be the guy I was in 2008.”
He said it
Has Volquez lost any ground in a bid for a rotation spot?
“No,” Hurdle said. “I don't have them seeded.”
Hurdle said Pirates left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke was scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday but did not have an immediate update on the throwing session. Locke (oblique) said earlier in the week he had not had any setbacks and the decision to halt his throwing was a precautionary one.
Around the horn
Charlie Morton threw five innings against the Yankees' Triple-A team Saturday. He allowed three hits and one run. He struck out four … Mark Melancon allowed a run on two hits in one inning against the Double-A Yankees.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Braves 2
- Pirates notebook: Decker leaves game with calf injury
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut