TAMPA, FL - This season hasn't been the most impressive stretch of Andrew Brackman's career, but the…
Brackman Focusing On Location
At the moment, Brackman is not worrying so much about his velocity as he works to improve his form and maintain command of his pitches. Brackman is issuing fewer walks. So far this season, he has walked only three batters in 32 innings pitched, while striking out 22.
"I think I have my mechanics down to where I don't really have to think about them like I did last year," Brackman said. "Last year, the ball was all over the place and I didn't really know where it was going. I was more worried about velocity than location. This year it's completely different."
Tampa Yankees catcher Mitch Abeita, who has caught for Brackman since last season, said he has all the confidence in the world in the big right-hander from Cincinnati, Ohio.
"He's a great worker," Abeita said. "When you give him a task to do, he goes after it 100 percent. I think that equates into results."
Though Brackman is putting in the work, returning to form has not been easy since he had Tommy John surgery in August 2007, the year he was drafted in the first round by the Yankees. Since the surgery, Brackman has struggled. He currently owns a 7.03 ERA on the season and a WHIP of 1.41.
"It's definitely taken a lot longer than I would have expected to get back to normal. I really don't feel normal yet. Every day's a process."
The Yankees have high expectations for Brackman and his development, but it has been a long process for the 23-year-old out of North Carolina State. This is mostly due to the Tommy John Surgery.
"It's frustrating trying to get back to where you were," he said. "You know that your arm's been repaired and sooner or later it will get back to where it was. But being patient and waiting for it is pretty tough."
Abeita thinks that Brackman is in good shape on his road to becoming a big league pitcher.
"He's been working on a lot of stuff lately, but he's coming along really good," Abeita said. "He's come a long way and he works really hard. He's learned a lot more about pitching guys a certain way and pitching toward their weaknesses."
Among the "things" that Brackman has been working on immensely is adding more pitches to his repertoire.
"I'm working on my changeup. That's been a big part of this year," Brackman said. "They're [pitching coaches] also teaching me a slider, which will put me at four pitches. In my last outing, I threw four different pitches for strikes and you need that."
For now, Brackman is just trying to do the right things and learn as much as he can. He knows there are many areas in which he can always improve.
"Holding runners is a big thing," he said. "Also, just being a little bit quicker to the plate out of the stretch."
The Yankees have invested a lot into Brackman as they wait for it to pay off. He seems to be taking everything well as he focuses on the future and not the past.
"Honestly, he's the type of guy that battles out there," Abeita said. "Every time he goes out there, he prepares himself the right way. He works hard before and after every game and I'm glad he's making positive steps this year."
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