Angels reliever Jordan Walden looks to change things up a bit
Jordan Walden has plenty of fastball -- he consistently threw in the 99-mph range after being called up in late August last season and threw a pitch in the minor leagues that was clocked at 102 mph -- but the Angels reliever is now working on a new pitch, a changeup.
Walden, who also throws a slider, went 0-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 16 appearances in 2010. Not only is the 23-year-old right-hander expected to make the team this spring, he could have a prominent late-relief role.
But Manager Mike Scioscia only wants Walden to use the changeup if he finds a feel for it.
"In the role he'll be in, it would have to become a premium pitch," Scioscia said. "His fastball/breaking ball combination is fine. If it becomes an out pitch for him, that's terrific.
"It's not that he needs it, but it's definitely worth exploring, because Francisco [Rodriguez, former Angels closer] has one of best changeups going, but he had to nurse his way through it until he became comfortable with it."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.
Photo: Jordan Walden. Credit: Jason O. Watson / US Presswire