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Joe Kelly threw a football to improve his curveball

Feb 21, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

Joe Kelly Getty Getty Images

Joe Kelly has impressed onlookers in Cardinals camp with his improved curveball and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that the right-hander credits throwing a football during the offseason for the change:

Kelly said by throwing the football he was able to find an arm slot that he could consistently use and a shorter arm swing that adds to his deception. He was able to condition his hand’s release for better control. He shifted his usual grip on the curve to meet the new arm slot.The righty acknowledged that he worried about “losing velocity” by making the change. But he hasn’t.

Kelly stepped into the Cardinals’ rotation down the stretch last season and was fantastic, going 9-2 with a 2.09 ERA, but St. Louis’ impressive starting pitching depth means he’s not even guaranteed to be a starter this season. Goold notes that Kelly is one of seven starters competing for four openings behind Adam Wainwright, so that’s where the improved curveball could factor in.

And, really, Sam Bradford’s gripon the Rams’ starting job can’t be that secure anyway.

  1. blues1988 - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    “And, really, Sam Bradford’s grip on the Rams’ starting job can’t be that secure anyway.”

    lol. as an stl sports fan, i laughed.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 21, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      Um, are the Rams in StL now?

    • 78mu - Feb 21, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      Kelly is now third on the Ram’s depth chart.

  2. spudchukar - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    It wasn’t as if Kelly’s curve wasn’t pretty effective before the alteration. It could have a more downward trajectory, and I think that is what he is going for.

  3. chaseutley - Feb 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    It worked for Nolan Ryan. Then again, so did wrestling steers to the ground. Just ask Robin Ventura.

    • stex52 - Feb 21, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      You callin’ Robin a steer? Them’s fightin’ words, cowboy.

    • jm91rs - Feb 21, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Every time this fight gets mentioned I think about how epic it really could have been. Bo Jackson and Frank Thomas were there and if they really wanted to join the fun the entire Texas Rangers team could have had their spines snapped that night.

  4. okwhitefalcon - Feb 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Tom House had Rangers pitchers doing this in the 80’s, not exactly new territory being broke here.

    Tom House also caught Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in the left field bullpen at Fulton County Stadium.

    I’ve surpassed the legal limit of Tom House information for the day.

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