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Hochman: Cardinals' Siegrist developing new pitch

Hochman: Cardinals' Siegrist developing new pitch

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JUPITER, Fla. • Last season, Kevin Siegrist allowed four home runs.

Last postseason, Siegrist allowed three.

He also picked up the loss in the final playoff game to the Cubs, after allowing two homers, and we all wondered if his left arm was spent.

The Cardinal reliever pitched 74 2/3 innings in the regular season, logging 13 innings in each of the final three months of July, August and September.

Here at spring training, a rejuvenated Siegrist is trying something new, in hopes of keeping batters off-balance.

“He's learning a new breaking ball, a curveball, and it's got great spin,” Adam Wainwright said of his teammate. “He's just trying to learn the shape of it, so we're talking through the best way to throw that for a strike, or to throw it for a ball if you want to.”

Last season, according to FanGraphs, Siegrist threw his fastball 75 percent of the time, while using a slider 6.7 percent and a changeup 18.3 percent, that final number way up from the previous campaign. In 2014, Siegrist threw the changeup only 4.7 percent of the time, while throwing the slider 8.1 percent and the heater 87.2 percent.

“He's really (learning) the shape of the pitch,” Waino said. “So subconsciously you know where to aim, without having to aim at someone's shoulder or elbow. You see the glove, you know the shape of your pitch, you throw it there.”

A gracious Siegrist spoke highly of Wainwright, the old sage. Siegrist is the primary lefty in the bullpen, again, following his season with a 2.17 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 34 walks.

“(The veterans) like to help out, they like to teach and they want everyone to succeed the ultimate goal, the World Series – and it starts in spring,” said Siegrist, 26. “It's preparation. It's good to have a solid veteran core group, so any questions you have, you can ask.”

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