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Ernesto Frieri adds two pitches to arsenal

Mar 3, 2013, 7:33 PM EDT

Ernesto Frieri AP

86 percent of Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri‘s pitches thrown last season were fastballs. Despite the patently predictable approach, the 27-year-old has enjoyed immense success in his brief Major League career, owning a 2.32 ERA in 162.2 innings. He also has one of the highest strikeout rates among all relievers. Only five have posted a better K/9 since 2010 (minimum 100 IP as a reliever):

Frieri knows that Major League hitters can only be fooled by fastballs for so long, though, so he has worked on adding a cut fastball and a change-up to his arsenal this spring. Thus far, he is enjoying the results.

A day after Ernesto Frieri made his spring debut, he and catcher John Hester were both pleased with the development of the pitcher’s new cutter and changeup. Frieri was ecstatic after inducing a groundout on a changeup in Saturday’s game.

“That tells me everything I’m doing here, all the hard work, is good,” Frieri said this morning. “I’m going to continue doing it. That’s a good pitch, a really good pitch. I just need to get more comfortable and get more confidence, throw it like my fastball.”

Frieri allowed one hit in his only inning of work in spring training so far. The right-hander figures to be a crucial part of the back of the Angels’ bullpen behind closer Ryan Madson.

  1. jkaflagg - Mar 3, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    With ” closer Ryan Madson” not even throwing off the mound yet, expect Frieri to remain the closer well into the season; and if Madson recovers as most pitchers do with a gradual building of endurance and arm strength, it may be late in the season before he can close, if at all….

  2. jarathen - Mar 4, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Frieri’s fastball has got enough lateral movement that it kept hitters guessing all day. Adding to the repertoire is good, but I hope he doesn’t try to get too fancy. A good secondary pitch to keep hitters honest is important, but don’t mess too much with success, either.

  3. unlost1 - Mar 4, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    ALERT: top 7 closer available in the last round of your fantasy draft

  4. ch0psuey - Mar 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Padres have groomed some good relievers

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