Kranitz to try to help Cabrera change it up

January 06, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

I'm told that Daniel Cabrera is throwing his changeup a lot in the Dominican Winter League, which is a good thing.

Cabrera shied away from his off-speed stuff last season because he still lacked confidence in it. But he won't win consistently at this level without it, which he now realizes.

I had someone close to Cabrera tell me that the right-hander will have a "different approach" this year and should be more focused.

Cabrera never really meshed with former pitching coach Leo Mazzone, though Mazzone remained supportive of him. New pitching coach Rick Kranitz might want to avoid tinkering too much with Cabrera's mechanics once the season starts. It's hard enough for a 6-foot-9 pitcher to repeat his delivery without worrying about making changes to it over the summer.

Cabrera never will look as smooth as Jim Palmer on the mound, and Kranitz will have to get Cabrera back in sync from time to time. But the trick is doing so without complicating the process and leaving Cabrera feeling out of sorts.

I hear some people in the front office have lost patience with Cabrera, but it's not unanimous. There are enough people in the organization who aren't ready to give up on his arm. And it sounds like Cabrera is fine with pitching at the back of the rotation. He just wants the ball.

As long as he's not trying to throw it 100 mph every time he releases it, he should become a better pitcher.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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