Walker working on a new curve
Taijuan Walker has the kind of live arm and sizzling fastball that makes people take notice, but developing some secondary pitches to go with that mid-90s heater stands as the primary need for the 20-year-old before he makes the jump to the Majors.
So it was interesting to see Walker unveiling a new curveball with some frequency during his first round of live batting practice on Tuesday.
The youngster from Yucaipa, Calif., said he’s working on a “spike curveball,” thrown with his index fingernail digging into the ball, and liked the way it felt. But with his fastball control struggling a bit initially, he bore down a little as Tuesday’s session went along.
“I was easing it in there, but I got a little frustrated with myself and started bumping it up to maybe 80-90 percent,” he said. “I felt I wasn’t locating very well with my pitches. And you always want to locate, especially with your fastball.”
As for the newest weapon? Kyle Seager said he only saw fastball, changeup and a new cutter from Walker. But the lanky right-hander said he indeed is tuning up a curveball that he dropped in while facing Michael Morse, Casper Wells, Vinnie Catricala and Nick Franklin.
“Last year during the season I kind of got away from my curveball, so I wanted to make sure I came into camp with my curveball ready,” he said. “I wanted to throw it a lot, just to make sure I’ve got it.
“I’ve been working on that spike curve and this was my first time throwing it against live hitters. I need to locate it better, but I felt it was sharper than other curves I’ve thrown in the past. But I just need to keep throwing it and get better.”