Eveland brings lessons from Minors
Hurler finds success after tinkering with pitching delivery
SEATTLE -- When Dana Eveland was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 3, he wasn't in the middle of a terrible year. Though he had a 5.88 ERA in the month of July, Eveland had posted ERAs of 3.67 or under during each of the season's first three months.But after getting pounded on Aug. 2 by the Red Sox for eight hits and nine runs in just two innings, the left-hander was heading back down the to Minor Leagues to make some adjustments. "It wasn't my favorite thing that's happened to me, but I feel like I did a pretty decent job of taking advantage of the opportunity to work on some things," he said. "It's hard to do [that] up here." Eveland obviously was able to successful employ those changes, as he went 3-0 in his three Sacramento starts and struck out 21 hitters in 21 innings to earn a call back up to the big leagues and a start on Saturday in Seattle against the Mariners. One of the big focal points was attacking the strike zone. "That was my main goal, getting on the mound and getting my strike percentage back up, throwing my off-speed stuff for strikes," he said. And he was able to accomplish that goal by making certain adjustments in his delivery. Some of those changes were small ones, such as shortening his stride a bit and working on not letting his body fly open during the pitch. He also underwent a rather large change in the delivery -- at least from a visual perspective. Eveland ditched the normal start to his delivery where he brings his hands up over his head and made the delivery a little simpler. "When your hands are over your head, you're obviously taking the vision away from the glove," he said. "And you're doing it twice through the delivery. I'm trying not to do that, and that way you stay focused on the glove the entire time." That was a little different for Eveland, given that he'd used the motion since childhood because he wanted to copy his boyhood hero, Nolan Ryan. But despite the years of habit, he said the transition wasn't so difficult. "It was a little different, but actually I got comfortable with it pretty quick," he said. "By the end of the [first] bullpen [session], I was feeling pretty positive about it and kinda liked the way it felt." Now Eveland will have to bring his newfound motion to a slightly bigger venue against much better hitters on Saturday. And while he had success in Sacramento, those aren't the starts that matter. "I've never had any issues pitching in Triple-A -- the biggest issue of my career has always been the jump up here," he said. "Down in the Minor Leagues, I always had success. I went down there expecting to do well, and I did that."
Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.