Kahnle Getting Back Into It

Kahnle has been pitching very well lately

TAMPA, FL – Tommy Kahnle's season got off to a slow start after he suffered an injury setback in March. His numbers have picked up recently though, and as long as he can control his pitches, Kahnle will have a good chance to move up the system quickly.

"I had a partial tear in my labrum and I just kind of rehabbed from there for the first month and a half or so," Kahnle said. "They said I didn't need surgery. I went out mid-March and missed until early May."

In his first few outings upon his return, Kahnle struggled with command, but he wasn't worried since it was due to the injury; instead he felt just had to shake some rust off.

"It affected me because the ball didn't come out as good and I knew there was something wrong," he said. "It made me work harder to get my arm into better shape and prevent this from happening again.

"I think it was more shaking rust off. I hadn't played many live games and these hitters are much better than the guys down there [Charleston]. I was leaving the ball up at first, and now it's getting better mechanically wise."

In 20.2 innings this season, Kahnle has an ERA of 3.48, 13 hits allowed, 24 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting just .178. The problem has been his control; he has allowed 14 walks.

"We're trying to limit his fall-off the mound," pitching coach Jeff Ware said. "He was just shaking rust off in the beginning. He's been a guy that pitches up in the zone, and we're trying to get him to elevate on purpose when he's ahead."

"The arm feels great," Kahnle added. "It's probably not fully healed yet, but the control has gotten back and mechanically I'm doing much better. Control was a problem. It was mechanical and I took a few bullpen sessions and I like where I'm at with it now."

Kahnle's velocity on his fastball is around 92-95 MPH. It elevates sometimes, but when controlled, it is an above average to plus Major League fastball. He has been working out some kinks on his slider lately.

"I changed up my grip, and now the slider is harder," Kahnle said. "When I'm ahead of the count I'm just not as good at commanding it.

"When it's even or I'm behind I don't throw it often, but I can usually get it over when I'm even and it has pretty good bite to it. I need to improve the control on it when I'm ahead in the count."

Coach Ware believes his slider has a lot of room for growth.

"The velocity on the slider has gone up [it's about 84-86 now]; it's short with some tilt to it," Ware said. "He's really comfortable with the grip he's using now. The depth and sharpness of it is effective.

"He's been throwing more strikes. With the deception of his fastball, he can get away with some mistakes. Of course we're trying to limit those mistakes because although he can get away with them at this level, he won't be able to at the Major League level."

The slider is getting better, but Kahnle's second best pitch is still his changeup.

"I really like my changeup," Kahnle said. "I can go to at any time in the count."

"He's always had a good changeup," Ware said. "The arm speed on his changeup is great. Comes out just like a fastball and it's about a 10 MPH drop off, plus it's got some bottom to it. It's a swing and a miss changeup.

"If he believes in his delivery and pitches down in the zone, he'll be successful and that's the bottom line."

Kahnle has allowed just three runs in his last 16 innings, and has gone back to back games [five innings] without walking a batter or allowing a run.

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