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View Full Version : Enquirer: Better breaking pitches could make Salmon



Roy Tucker
03-01-2007, 11:28 AM
I'd be happy with another Coffey-like reliever in the pen....

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070301/SPT04/703010345/1071

Better breaking pitches could make Salmon
More complete repertoire boosts his effectiveness
BY JOHN FAY | JFAY@ENQUIRER.COM

SARASOTA, Fla. - Brad Salmon is the leader in the clubhouse in the Coming Out of Nowhere To Make the Reds Sweepstakes.

Salmon, the Reds' 21st-round choice in the 1999 draft, is scheduled to pitch an inning in the team's spring opener today against Pittsburgh at Bradenton, Fla.

He's caught everyone's attention in camp with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s and a nasty split-finger pitch.

"Hopefully, they'll give me a second look," he said, "and I'll make the decision hard on them."

Salmon got on the Reds' radar by going 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA and five saves last year at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville.

Before last season, he had middling results. His fastball was always above average, but his breaking pitches weren't getting it done.

So after 2005, when he went a combined 3-8 with a 3.34 ERA and four saves in stops at Chattanooga and Louisville, he went to Winter Ball in Puerto Rico with a plan.

"I wanted to work on a few things as far as my splittie and my slider," he said. "It gave me a lot more confidence. I always had decent control of my fastball. My off-speed stuff was what hurt me. I'd get behind in the count and have to throw a fastball because I didn't trust my off- speed stuff.

He began trusting it last season, and it showed in his numbers.

He started the season in Chattanooga, going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and two saves in 16 games. He walked 16 and struck out 24.

He did markedly better after a promotion to Louisville. He went 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA and allowed only 36 hits in 57 2/3 innings. But the biggest improvement was in his walks-to-strikeouts ratio: he struck out 72 and walked only 24.

"It seemed to just click," he said.

The Reds added Salmon to the 40-man roster after the season. He got a lot of attention from coaches and scouts early in camp.

Salmon throws 93 to 96 mph - as hard as anyone in the Reds' bullpen. The pitcher on the roster he's most similar to is Todd Coffey, who went 6-7 with a 3.58 ERA and eight saves and led the Reds with 81 appearances last year.

"They're similar," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "Todd Coffey has very good command of his pitches. That's one thing where Coffey's ahead of him. Salmon may throw a little harder. Salmon's got a pretty good (split-finger); if he can throw that in the middle of the plate and down any at all, he's going to get a lot of swing-and-misses."

Salmon was ready for camp.

"The arm feels good," he said. "I worked hard this offseason. I came into camp in the best shape to try to impress somebody, make them take a second look at me."

IT'S A START: Homer Bailey tried to shrug off the significance of his spring debut, an intrasquad game in which he pitched against Bronson Arroyo.

"They let me go first so I could do a starter's routine. That was one benefit of it," he said. "... But I don't see it as a sign.

"Maybe they went in alphabetical order - Arroyo, then me."

JAVY HITS: Whether the Reds go with two or three catchers, Javier Valentine is going to be in the key left-handed pinch-hitting role.

"The way Javy can come off the bench and hit in that role, whether we've got anybody else or not, he's going to be used," Narron said. "If something happens, we'll piece it together at the end."

Valentin had four homers (one shy of a club record) and 12 RBI in 52 pinch-hit at-bats last year. He hit .286 with 12 homers and 25 RBI in 168 overall left-handed at-bats.

CUT SHORT: The Reds went only five innings in their intrasquad game rather than 51/2. David Weathers, one of the pitchers scheduled to go, is away from camp to be with his ailing mother.

FOUR-MAN ROTATION: Narron spent a lot of time discussing the four-man rotation Wednesday.

"I really believe Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo could pitch in a four-man rotation," he said.

"I just know baseball-wise it was a four-man rotation for 100 years and there were no pitch counts. Now we've got pitch counts and we're on a five-man rotation. Seems like it would be the other way around," Narron said.

"As much as anything, it's what pitchers get accustomed to. Pitchers are accustomed to five days."

After all the discussion, Narron added: "We're talking about something that's not going to happen."

Wheelhouse
03-01-2007, 11:29 AM
One could say he's a lox to make the team...

BRM
03-01-2007, 11:32 AM
The Reds could certainly use another bat misser in the pen.

corkedbat
03-01-2007, 11:36 AM
One could say he's a lox to make the team...


One could, but one would hope one would restrain oneself. :D

RedlegNation
03-01-2007, 11:55 AM
I saw Salmon pitch in Chattanooga. I was impressed, but of course, I only saw him pitch twice. Small sample size.

He throws fairly hard, as I recall.

Puffy
03-01-2007, 11:57 AM
JAVY HITS: Whether the Reds go with two or three catchers, Javier Valentine is going to be in the key left-handed pinch-hitting role.

"The way Javy can come off the bench and hit in that role, whether we've got anybody else or not, he's going to be used," Narron said. "If something happens, we'll piece it together at the end."

Valentin had four homers (one shy of a club record) and 12 RBI in 52 pinch-hit at-bats last year. He hit .286 with 12 homers and 25 RBI in 168 overall left-handed at-bats.



Good work on the proof reading there, Enquirer!!

KoryMac5
03-01-2007, 11:58 AM
He should have been given a look last year. He had the same stuff and his performance was great last year at both levels. Why the Reds didn't give him a shot with our bullpen in shambles we will never know.

RedlegNation
03-01-2007, 12:09 PM
He should have been given a look last year. He had the same stuff and his performance was great last year at both levels. Why the Reds didn't give him a shot with our bullpen in shambles we will never know.

What, you didn't approve of Majewski or Cormier?

Johnny Footstool
03-01-2007, 12:14 PM
I'm all in favor of the Reds adding power bullpen arms that might be a little bit wild. It seems like the majority of the Reds relievers throw low-90's stuff right around the plate.

Caveat Emperor
03-01-2007, 12:40 PM
One could say he's a lox to make the team...

But then again, it wouldn't be fishy if he didn't.

SunDeck
03-01-2007, 01:55 PM
He's caught everyone's attention in camp with a fastball that tops out in the mid-90s and a nasty split-finger pitch.

Anybody else get the jitters when they hear a quote like this? I'd much rather have a guy develop a good breaking ball or a change. Otherwise he kind of looks like a future Tommy John surgery candidate.

M2
03-01-2007, 04:00 PM
Anybody else get the jitters when they hear a quote like this? I'd much rather have a guy develop a good breaking ball or a change. Otherwise he kind of looks like a future Tommy John surgery candidate.

Relievers are usually short-termers anyway. If he could have two or three good years thanks to the splitter then it's probably worth the surgery.

dsmith421
03-01-2007, 05:23 PM
A better curve could tip the scales in his favor.

vaticanplum
03-01-2007, 07:43 PM
My greatest dream is for Salmon to hit a home run at some point so that we can see the "Salmon smokes" variant in the Enquirer.

Given the nature of this thread, I should have made this into a pun, except I'm serious.

4256 Hits
03-01-2007, 08:23 PM
He should have been given a look last year. He had the same stuff and his performance was great last year at both levels. Why the Reds didn't give him a shot with our bullpen in shambles we will never know.

He is on the wrong side of 35 years of age. :evil: