FORT MYERS, Fla. – Left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes made his second start (third appearance) of the spring on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. Reyes allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits over 2.1 innings with a pair of walks. After his outing, Reyes said he changed his arm slot over the off-season, and is trying to work through the new adjustment.
“I’ve just been working on a lot of stuff this spring training, something new I haven’t been doing my whole career, so it’s really a progression. Once it clicks, I’ll be fine,” Reyes said. “Just some mechanical stuff in my delivery that changed my arm slot. It’s just a different arm angle. I’m just getting used to it. I’ll be good for a couple pitches, then fall back, not repeating it and that’s where the issues are coming in.”
Reyes said he talked with Manager Clint Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage over the off-season where he started putting it to use.
“It’s like my head pulling out, but now I’m not pulling out so it’s a little lower. It’s just finding comfortably in it,” Reyes said describing his new arm angle. “It started off good and now it’s just kind of getting used to it in the game.”
So far this spring, Reyes has allowed seven earned runs on 13 hits (9.00 ERA) over seven innings. Reyes has walked four and struck out four.
“He has been working on some mechanics from the time he showed up here,” Hurdle said. “We’ve seen a guy with some stuff, some life, some movement, some secondary pitches, command has always been one of the challenges for him. The ability for him to repeat his delivery. We’re trying to help him find a way that he can repeat. Throw consecutive strikes, get on a roll. That’s been one of the challenges for him right now. He’s been very open-minded. He’s been working hard. There’s still work in front of him, but he’s a tough kid. We like having him. We’re glad we got him. He’s just got to stay positive and keep working.”
The mechanical issues that Reyes is working on could be a factor in whether he makes the big league club. The Pirates have competition both in the starting rotation and in the bullpen, and his results with the tinkering of the mechanics could factor in the decision-making process.
“If you look at the results that he’s had so far, there need to be some adjustments made,” Hurdle said. “We feel and he feels there’s more there, and we’re trying to help him find a repeatable delivery. Sometimes that’s tough in a small window of opportunity or competition. We’ll see where it takes it. He’s got to find a delivery that works for him where he can consistently pound the strike zone and prove his command to be the most effective that he can be. Wherever he’s going to be.”