Wetherell Sliding In

Wetherell has 21 K's in 17.2 IP as a starter

CHARLESTON, SC - After beginning the season in the bullpen for the Charleston RiverDogs, Phil Wetherell has joined the starting rotation. As a reliever Wetherell had an ERA of 6.07, 48 strikeouts, and 6 saves in 46 innings pitched. He started off the season strong but has since lost consistency and his move into the rotation is a designed plan to get him more work.

"He's having a hard time being consistent, especially in the second half," Charleston manager Carlos Mendoza said. "He had a very good first half and then struggled a little bit with location."

This transition will give Wetherell both more game repetitions on the mound and also more opportunities to work in between games.

"We just want him to get in the game early," Mendoza said. "He's working around with some secondary pitches. It's not that big of a difference for him. We just want him to start some fresh games and get his work in, extend his innings, and get him some more pitches."

"Just more repetitions," pitching coach Danny Borrell added. "It gets him more repetitions on the mound, some more game experience, and more time to put in work between starts. For him that's very important right now."

"It nice to get more work on the mound," Wetherell said. "One of the reasons I made the transition was so I could get more mound work in between starts instead of doing work and making improvements in a game."

Although he has been thrown into the rotation more than half way through the season, Wetherell does not seem worried.

"I think of it as the same thing just a different time in the game," Wetherell said. "Pitching's pitching whether it's the 9th [inning] or the first."

Wetherell is a power pitcher who is looking to add some offspeed pitches that should help his transition go smoothly.

"He's got a great arm," Borrell said. "He'll get it up to 95, 96 pretty often and that's always hard to find in a pitcher.

"He maintains that velocity throughout the game. He's got a wipeout split-finger. Right now we're just working on tightening up that slider a little bit."

"He's got a plus fastball and a very good split finger to go with it," Mendoza added.

"My offspeed has been working pretty well," Wetherell said. "I've been working on a new slider. It hasn't been working well when I leave it high but down in the zone it worked much better."

As a starter this season Wetherell is just 1-4 with an ERA of 6.62. While his numbers don't seem impressive, he and the coaches express optimism towards the development.

"It's been great for him," Mendoza said. "He's limited on pitches right now but he has been giving us three or four strong innings. He's done very well and given us a chance to win."

"I think in the long run it will be good for him but for right now he's still trying to get into that rhythm of being a starter," Borrell said. "After being a reliever for quite some time it's a tough transition, but he's been fine so far and hopefully he'll continue to get better.

"He's got a power fastball so just being able to locate that fastball down in the zone is big. If he can get that slider a little more consistent then he'll have another good weapon to use."

Wetherell seems to have the pieces in place now he needs to put everything together in order to make his transition to a starter successful.

"Right now I'm working on a consistent arm slot and starting to throw this slider," Wetherell said. "That's been the story for about the last year now. We've found one we like and I think I'm going to stick with it."

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