JUPITER -- After giving up nine home runs in only 63 relief innings last season, southpaw reliever Mike Dunn is working on two pitches he believes will reduce the power onslaught: a change-up and a two-seam fastball to go with his four-seamer and slider. In particular, Dunn wants to show something different to right-handed hitters, who accounted for seven of the nine home runs hit off him.
Dunn said both his two primary pitches -- the four-seamer and slider -- cut in on right-handers. The change-up and two-seamer go away from right-handed hitters. He said he started experimenting with the two pitches during the second half of last season, and the results showed.
After serving up seven home runs before the All-Star break, Dunn gave up only two home runs after July 6, and both of those shots were hit by left-handed hitters: the Giants' Brandon Belt and Philadelphia's Ryan Howard.
Dunn spent the offseason perfecting the two offspeed pitches so that he can put them to greater use this season. He and Josh Johnson worked out at the the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
"Are they going to be my top two pitches? No." Dunn said. "But we're going to use them more and more this year. The change-up is a good pitch to throw, maybe on the first pitch, to put it in their head, to get it in the book that, 'Hey, Dunn's got a change-up. He might use it.' It's just another weapon. It's definitely to keep the ball in the park because, if you keep the ball in the park, you've got a chance. I have seven guys standing behind me."