Yankees News: Nathan Eovaldi’s spring focus is to limit his amount of hits


Nathan Eovaldi is entering his first year with the New York Yankees, and one of his main tasks this year has been to improve his off-speed pitches.  He worked on this in a minor league game on Tuesday, and feels the pitches are coming along:

"My splitter is coming along.  Most of my bullpens have been focused on that.  I need to use all four pitches.  Last year, I was only using two pitches and was getting hit a lot.  My slider is a lot better.  Last year, it got hit too hard.  Now, it’s got a little bit more depth to it.  I’ve been able to throw it more consistently for strikes, which I needed to do."

A year after allowing a National League high 223 hits, Eovaldi will have to be better if he wants to succeed in the AL East.  Eovaldi has looked sharp so far during nine Spring Training innings, allowing only seven hits and one run, while striking out nine and walking none.

If he is able to develop his off-speed pitches, then Eovaldi could become one of the better number four pitchers in the game.  In a worst-case scenario situation, he could become their best and most experienced starter.

With injury concerns of different sorts to Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Chris Capuano, the Yankees need Eovaldi to be consistent, and give them close to, if not more than, the 199 2/3 innings he threw last year.

They will also need him to improve on his performance, something he has worked hard with pitching coach Larry Rothschild to do.  Rothschild, who watched his minor league start on Tuesday, feels impressed with Eovaldi’s improvement, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com:

"He’s a guy that has a chance to get better and better as long as he’s heading in the right direction, and that’s what he’s doing."

Eovaldi threw 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run, while striking out five.  If he can continue to his spring level of play, then the Yankees pitching staff could quickly turn from one of the teams biggest question marks to one of its biggest strengths.

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