Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/10/13
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz used a "B" game Sunday to work on off-speed pitches that they would like to take into the regular season. Kennedy threw between 15 and 20 curveballs in five innings against a team of Giants minor leaguers, and Putz threw slider after slider after slider in his one inning. Kennedy uses the curve to complement his primary fastballchangeup repertoire, and he has talked about throwing the breaking ball more often this season. The D-backs are all for it. Any starting pitcher, if you have three pitches you are a better pitcher, manager Kirk Gibson said. "Two years ago he had it, and last year he lost his confidence with it. We are trying to get his confidence back with it for sure." The "B" game is a good setting to work on pitches because game conditions can be manipulated. Kennedy faced 16 batters and gave up only one single, and because of his efficiency, he pitched to an extra batter in the second, third and fourth innings, getting four outs each inning. He pitched his fourth inning in the stretch since he had not allowed a runner to that point. He threw 56 pitches, several times doubling up on the curve. "I feel pretty comfortable with it. Nice and easy with it. Im getting it over for strikes and I feel it better. I feel I can throw it up and down. Instead of throwing changeups like I normally would, I tried getting a curveball over when I was behind. If I threw it for a ball, I threw it again. It allowed me to throw more curveballs than I normally would. It was nice to work on things in a controlled environment, said Kennedy, who has three more starts until he pitches the regular-season opener April 1 against the Cardinals at Chase Field. "Im happy where it (curve) is at. Next outing, Im still going to throw it. Early on in camp, I wanted to work on throwing it more. The next three outings, just maybe get focused on getting ready for that first start of the year." Putz had good success with a slider as his third pitch to go with his fastball and a split-finger pitch when he had 76 saves in Seattle in 2006-07, and he wants to get back to it in order to put another thought in hitters heads. He got away from the pitch after right elbow surgery in 2009. Like the cut fastball Putz added last spring, the slider has a similar late break. While Putz junked the cutter in late May because it hurt his mechanics, he said Sunday that the slider does not have the same effect on his delivery. "I havent thrown it a lot here. After my surgery, I didnt really throw it a whole lot. My arm feels good enough to start throwing it again. Started messing with it a little bit last year and kind of made it a priority this year. Its not a cutter. It is not a cutter," Putz said, making a point. "I know it (cutter) hurt my mechanics. I was literally cutting everything off. A slider you cant throw if you try to cut it off. Its another pitch right off your fastball. Maybe I was a little bit timid and didnt really want to mess with it, which quite honestly doesnt really make a whole lot of sense, because Im sure the split-finger is way worse on my arm than the slider, but the split just seems natural to me." Of Putz 11 pitches, seven were sliders. SKAGGS GOES FOUR Tyler Skaggs gave up four runs in four innings in a 7-5 loss to the Athletics on Sunday, his second start of the spring. Skaggs gave up a two-run home run to Jed Lowrie in the third inning after giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in the second inning. Josh Donaldson opened the second with a groundball single that ricocheted off diving first baseman Eric Hinskes glove and was fielded by second baseman Josh Wilson, but Donaldson beat the play when Skaggs hesitated briefly after the ball hit Hinskes glove. John Jaso also had a bunt single toward first that inning. "As soon as Hinske dove, I kind of slowed down, thinking it was going to be a single," Skaggs said. "Those are the mistakes you cant have, though. You have to have those outs. You get those outs, they arent scoring any runs." Skaggs has given up nine earned runs and 14 hits in 9 13 innings this spring while competing with Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. He walked two and did not have a strikeout Sunday. "Too many deep counts," Gibson said. "He got himself in trouble when he did not cover the bag twice. Just kind of struggled with his command. Wed rather see him just throw the ball over the plate right now. Maybe just thinking a little too much. Hes throwing the ball much better. He gets into bad counts, he cant just throw a fastball. He has to get that (curveball) over." Skaggs wasn't particularly concerned about the results, though. "Numbers mean nothing in spring training. Its all about how you feel and what the coaches see. Basically, spring training is a confidence builder, and today just added to the confidence I have out there." NOTES: Oakland left-hander Brett Anderson, who joined the As in the Dan Haren trade with the D-backs in the winter of 2007, faced only two batters Sunday before leaving with a strained right trapezius muscle suffered when he twisted awkwardly while covering third base. With Adam Eaton on first base, Cliff Pennington reached on an error by third baseman Josh Donaldson. The ball did not go far, but Eaton sped for third when he noticed that the bag was uncovered. Anderson and Eaton got to the bag about the same time, and Anderson was unable to handle the throw. "That was a good play," Gibson said. "We encourage him to be him. He has great influence on our offensive capabilities. He puts pressure on people."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Madison Bumgarner a bully?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons has fracture in foot

Olympic wrestler turned ISIS recruit killed in U.S. drone strike

Report: Jamaal Charles to play Sunday against Steelers

Dez Bryant says he will not play Sunday against 49ers

Bill O’Brien officially rules J.J. Watt out for season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Eric Decker out Sunday with partial tear in rotator cuff

Report: Browns planning to part ways with Josh Gordon

Noah skips dinner at West Point because he's anti-war

Giants could use wide receiver at safety against Vikings

Ryan Tannehill does not mince words regarding offense

Russell Wilson on playing Sunday against Jets: ‘No doubt’

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

Box Score: 9/30 - Dolphins, Popovich and MLB umps

Seven most absurd stats heading into NFL Week 4

Antonio Brown to honor Arnold Palmer with custom cleats

The best and worst from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Players Jurgen Klinsmann may call up for USMNT friendlies

Byron Scott has no relationship with D’Angelo Russell

Steve Kerr favors shorter NBA preseason to limit back-to-backs

Flaws of MLB replay system exposed in Cardinals’ victory

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

NBA winners and losers: Gregg Popovich as a voice of reason

WATCH: Will LSU have to sell its soul to find its next head coach?

The clubhouse leaders for MLB Rookies of the Year

Goodbye, Ted: 20 years of highs and lows at Turner Field

Forza Horizon 3 review: Going Top Gear

NFL Kickoff Week 4: Guess what? The NFL is dying again

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker