Doug Fister made his second start of the spring today while Jason Vargas has yet to see the field in Cactus League play. Both had career innings highs last year yet are being handled differently. Vargas is on the Felix plan, extra bullpens and sim games rather than Cactus League starts while Fister is on a normal spring schedule.
Today Vargas worked on the curve ball he hopes to be able to throw more this year pitching against minor leaguers while Fister continued his search for consistency against the Reds.
"Going out there was a struggle to keep the ball down," said Fister in the clubhouse after his outing. "I am trying to get that sinker down and in to the right handers, I am struggling with it right now to get location back."
Fister relies on location more than an array of pitches and being 6'5 can make that tricky. Finding the arm slot and release point are what leads to location and finding that consistency is the name of his game.
"It's fine tuning, it is just a matter of a couple of tweaks here and there and repetition. I feel I can get there, it is a matter of keeping it."
To this end the Cactus League innings would seem to be more valuable to Fister than Vargas who was actually working on a pitch today when he threw 31 pitches in a sim game against minor leaguers. He acknowledged that pitching in the sim game gave him a better opportunity to work on things.
"My one goal this off season and spring training was to get a breaking ball that I could count on to be able to throw to get back in the count or ahead in the count and this has given me a good chance to do that," he said.
Vargas expects to throw one more pen before he makes his Cactus League debut, most likely Tuesday against the Giants.