May 15, 2016

"NOTHING IS ILLEGAL IN SPRING TRAINING":

Sunday Notes: Manaea-Giles Adversity, Astros, M's Future SS, more (David Laurila, May 15, 2016, Fangraphs)

Doug Jones' name came up yesterday when AJ Hinch met with the media. The subject was changeups, and Jones had a good one. He rode the pitch to 303 saves while playing for seven teams from 1982-2000.

Hinch caught Jones at the tail end of the latter's career, and he remembers him fondly. The mustache and personality were notable, but it was the changeup that really stood out.

"He was your classic pitcher who pitched backwards," said Hinch. "Doug used his changeup as his predominant pitch and his fastball as his secondary pitch. He was one of the first back-end guys who didn't rely on velocity. By the time I caught him, his fastball was only in the mid 80s. He'd use it as a stunt pitch, late in counts, just to surprise guys.

"His changeup was really slow. He'd throw it almost like a turned over palm ball, or screwball. And he could throw it at different speeds. He could throw a changeup off of his changeup. It would range anywhere from the lower 60s to the mid 70s. In a lot of ways he was like Koji Uehara, although Uehara does it with a split, and his fastball is a little harder than Doug's was."

And then there was the whistle.

"Doug liked to mess with hitters in spring training," remembered Hinch. "He'd have a whistle in his mouth. It would be like a circus act. He would blow on the whistle as he was pulling the string on a changeup. He liked to get us to laugh."

The Astros' manager was asked how his former teammate could get away with that.

"Nothing is illegal in spring training," answered Hinch. "We run in the outfield during games. Plus, it wasn't performance enhancing."

Posted by at May 15, 2016 8:49 AM

  

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