FORT MYERS, Fla. Since he was a teenager, Nick Blackburn had thrown from the side of the pitching rubber closest to first base. But the Twins' right-handed sinkerballer made a change this offseason, moving closer to the center of the mound.
It's still early in spring, but Blackburn said the change is paying off.
"It's been good so far. It's been a great adjustment," said Blackburn, who threw two scoreless innings in the Twins' "B" game Wednesday against Boston. "It's helped me feel better. It's helped me have great direction on my pitches."
One key to the new stance is against right-handed batters, as Blackburn said standing on the first-base side exposes his hand more to hitters. By moving over a bit, it gives the batter less time to recognize what he might be throwing.
It also has its benefits against left-handers, said Blackburn.
"More deception for righties for sure, but also for lefties when I'm throwing that sinker into them as opposed to starting at their hip and coming...