Marshall Pitching, Not Throwing

Marshall has pitched well in first three starts

CHARLESTON, SC – Brett Marshall continues to sharpen his pitches and improve this season with the Charleston RiverDogs. The right-handed pitcher shrunk his ERA from a 5.56 last season to a current 2.59. The progression of his pitches is a direct result from his hard work, dedication and willingness to learn. And the Highland, Texas native knows why there is drastic improvement.

"Mechanics is a big thing," Brett Marshall said. "If you compare mine from last year to this year, they have changed a lot just from balance point to separation to getting my arm up.

"The biggest thing I was worried about was getting my arm up in the right position because my mechanics were the biggest thing that hurt me last year."

RiverDogs' pitching coach Jeff Ware agrees with Marshall's success as a result from a new mound delivery.

"The biggest thing for him is throwing a slider; no longer throwing a curveball," Ware insisted. "We are letting him use a two-seam fastball a lot more, whereas last year it was all four-seamers.

"He has a lot of good movement with his two-seam fastball," Ware added. "He gets some swings and misses; several swinging over top of his two-seamer because he's got a lot of good sink to it. And his slider is hard-sharp, and those are the two things that's helping him out a lot."

The 20-year-old starting pitcher was not slowed down by Tommy John surgery that took place on July 31, 2009, a date that he'll always remember. Since then he has healed completely, feels fine and as a direct result, continues to progress.

"I see him progressing every outing," Ware said. "Compared to last year, he's a lot more confident with his two-seam now and [with] his slider, which is making him a different type of a pitcher."

For the rest of the season, Ware predicts Marshall will continue advancing his variety of pitches.

"Last year he was more of a thrower, just coming in and trying to throw hard because he has such good life with his fastball," Ware said. "We call him a ‘pitcher' this year because he is actually pitching [and not throwing]."

"My goal was to come back by the All Star break," Marshall stated. "I knew I was coming back to Charleston, so I would like to finish off the year getting as many innings as I can."

Ware is pleased to see Marshall use what he is being taught when he is on the field.

"He's trying to pitch to spots and command his pitches down on his own and work both sides of the plate," Ware added. "That's pretty common as a young kid coming up that throws hard; trying to throw a hard fastball by everybody. And that doesn't work unless you are able to command it.

"Now he understands that he has to command the ball to both sides of the plate, elevate up and expand off the plate when he's ahead with two strikes."

"I just want to pitch more, learn more than last year and just finish off the season great," Marshall concluded. "I started off this year knowing a lot more than I did before, so I just want to keep on learning."

From all indications, Marshall will continue to learn and as a result, improve to where he and Ware think he should be.

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