Sandy Koufax made his spring training debut on Sunday for the Dodgers. He got rocked for a triple.
At least, that was the lazy conclusion to draw after Hyun-Jin Ryu threw one curveball in one inning against the Chicago White Sox, and DeWayne Wise drove it for a three-bagger. Five days earlier, Koufax was teaching Ryu a new grip on the curve — deeper in the palm of his hand — and Ryu tried it. Once. It was hit for a triple.
Chris Capuano tried another Koufax-taught technique Monday against the Cubs, pitching out of the stretch starting with his legs closer together than he had in the past (see here). This didn’t seem to work on first try, either. Darnell McDonald blasted a three-run home run off Capuano, who said he wasn’t comfortable out of the stretch in his first competitive inning of the season.
“I’ve got a little bit of a different setup out of the stretch now with my feet together,” Capuano said. “I’m trying to be a little quicker to the plate, still get the same amount of stuff on it. I thought I did make some good pitches out of the stretch today. That one I threw down and in there (to McDonald) wasn’t a great pitch. I felt like I was feeling for it in the first inning, and the second inning I kind of let it go and it started coming out of my hand better.”
Blame a game that doesn’t count for anything, and a veteran pitcher who’s aware of it? OK. Capuano is one of eight starters vying for five spots in the Dodgers’ rotation, but that won’t stop the left-hander from experimenting in his first start of spring training.
“It’s going to help me get a little better downhill plane out of the stretch, a little better stuff on the ball, and also be consistent and quick to the plate,” Capuano said. “Last year I went back and forth between a slide step and a leg kick. I want to be consistent out of the stretch this year.”