Roch around the clock

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February 19, 2006

It has been a kick watching Leo Mazzone study the Orioles' pitchers. He stands behind one of the bullpen mounds, often bent at the waist, hands pressed to his legs. His gaze is intense. And nothing gets past this guy. He barely knows these pitchers, yet you'd think he has been around them for years. He seems to notice every glitch, and he commands such respect that every suggestion, or instruction, is met favorably.

On Friday, he interrupted Adam Loewen's session and simulated the left-hander's delivery - the proper one, and the one that caught his attention and forced the stoppage. He reminded Loewen that the former No. 1 draft pick is a power pitcher. Time to start throwing like one.

"That a boy," Mazzone said after Loewen made the correction. "You're an over-the-top power guy, right?"

Satisfied with the results, Loewen replied: "Thanks."

So what did Mazzone notice? Loewen was throwing his two-seam fastball away to right-handers, or at least the imaginary ones. "He wanted me to throw a four-seamer and get on top of it because I'm tall," Loewen said. "He wanted me to throw on a downward plane."

Mazzone loves what he sees so far. "He threw a couple pitches that exploded," Mazzone said, smiling. "If he got a couple to do that, he can get more."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

For more "Roch Around the Clock," go to baltimoresun.com/roch

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