MLB: Sox reliever working on landing spot
MARYVALE, Ariz. — Even after posting a 2.68 ERA in 46 games last season, Matt Lindstrom thinks there’s room for improvement.
Shortly after Lindstrom signed a 1-year contract with the White Sox in January, he quickly informed pitching coach Don Cooper what he wanted to work on this spring.
From the first day of spring workouts, Cooper, bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen and minor league pitching coordinator Curt Hasler have examined Lindstrom’s landing spot to help him better command his fastball, which was once clocked as fast as 100 mph and averages 96.
“We’re making some minor alterations,” Cooper said before Lindstrom threw a perfect inning Thursday against the Brewers. “They are not changes. We’re making sure he stays good and tall as he’s riding to the plate and taking advantage of that 6-foot-4 height.
“We’re also trying to close up his landing a little bit as well as playing around with his cutter and slider.”
Lindstrom, 33, allowed only two home runs in 47 innings last season for the Orioles and Diamondbacks. But the Sox are trying to help Lindstrom improve his location to lower his hits allowed per nine innings.
“I wanted to get more direction and stay taller to use my frame to my advantage because if you start your stride too long, you’re almost throwing the ball uphill and the batter sees it better,” Lindstrom said. “I’m creating that downhill [stride] better.”
Lindstrom, now pitching for his sixth team, was signed to add late-inning depth and help second-year closer Addison Reed. Lindstrom has 45 major league saves, including 23 with the Astros in 2010 and 15 with the Marlins in 2009.
Shortly after signing with the Sox, Lindstrom was more concerned with improving than closing.
Lindstrom allowed 55 walks in 731/3 innings at Double-A Binghamton to 28 walks in 101 innings over the last two seasons.
The coaches have helped eliminate what is described as “swinging the gate open” with his leg and instead making his delivery more compact and direct to home plate.
“Look at his numbers,” Cooper said. “He keeps the ball in the park. He has a nice changeup. We need that for more strikes and swings.”