Leroux Using Offseason Success to Fuel Him for 2012

DUNEDIN — Right-hander Chris Leroux had a very successful offseason pitching for the Toros del Este in the Dominican League. Having altered his arm slot and adding a new pitch during the 2011 season, Leroux saw even better results pitching for the Toros.

Leroux, who will try to break camp with the Pirates this spring, went down to the Dominican to focus on throwing inside and using his changeup.

“I did that, and it went really well,” Leroux said.

Used in the bullpen for the Pirates last season, Leroux was given the opportunity to start with the Toros. Not since 2006 when Leroux was a member of the Florida Marlins organization, had he started in a professional game. But despite what others thought, Leroux knew he could become a starter again.

Over four starts in winter ball, Leroux went 1-1 with a 1.31 ERA. He allowed just three earned runs over 20.2 innings with four walks and 18 strikeouts.

“It was fun,” Leroux said. “Obviously, playing for [Manager] Dean [Treanor] was pretty cool. I had a lot of guys down there that I knew. That kind of made me feel more comfortable. Pitching-wise it went really well. I was throwing all my pitches for strikes. That really helped. And learning how to throw a changeup whenever I could was big for me.”

The Pirates had Leroux starting to force him to work on his secondary pitches in longer outings. His role this season with the big club looks to be from the bullpen. Long relief, high leverage situations, Leroux is willing to take the ball whenever needed.

“I think as the season progresses, the bullpen’s weird,” Leroux said, “Whoever is pitching well, pitches in tight situations. So it doesn’t matter how you start, its how you finish.”

Leroux had a solid year both with Pittsburgh and in the minors during the 2011 season. The year prior didn‘t live up to his expectations. After posting a 6.75 ERA in 23 games with the Pirates in 2010, Leroux knew he needed a change. That’s when he added the new pitch, a slurve, and adjusted his arm slot to more of a three-quarters release. The slurve as a pitch he used to throw back in College at Winthrop University.

The results were much improved. Leroux posted a 2.78 ERA in 37 games in relief (68.0 innings) combined with Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indy. With Pittsburgh in 2011, Leroux went 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA over 23 games (25.0 innings) with seven walks and 27 strikeouts.

Leroux said his goal is to pitch well and prove that he deserves a spot with Pittsburgh. The 27-year-old is out of options, so if the club decides to cut him, they would have to designate him for assignment and losing him to another organization.

“I’m just trying to make the club,” Leroux said. “There’s a lot of guys here that can pitch, and a lot of guys that can take my spot. I’m just looking forward to proving to the front office that I can make the club and go up to Pittsburgh.”

Share This Article

Prospect Sanchez Homers in Intrasquad 4-4 Tie

Next Story »

McDonald Gets Butterflies in First Spring Outing

  • indybucfan

    This is a guy that absolutely nobody really talks much about, when they talk about how the pitching staff will shake out this year. It sounds to me as though he should definitely be in the mix, for the bullpen, and he could possibly be a good candidate to fill in as a starter early in the season.

  • dcProject

    I like what I’ve seen from him thus far. Here’s hoping he makes the squad.

  • Lee Young

    I agree with both of yinz

Latest Analysis

  • Tarpley Brault

    Will the Snider Trade Result in the Pirates Finally Having a Left-Handed Starting Prospect?

    8 hours ago

    Despite adding plenty of pitching through the draft over the last several years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been short on the amount of quality left-handed pitching in their ...

    Read More
  • Connor Joe 2

    Meet Connor Joe: The First Round Pick You Know Nothing About

    14 hours ago

    This site is now in its seventh year of existence. For the last four years, I’ve been doing this full-time, allowing me to see every affiliate throughout the year, along ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What is the Difference Between Mel Rojas and Keon Broxton?

    1 day ago

    Mel Rojas Jr. was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. The son of the former big league closer had ...

    Read More
  • Jose Tabata

    The Details of Jose Tabata’s New Swing

    3 days ago

    On Friday I wrote about how Jose Tabata talked to Marlon Byrd over the off-season, aimed at changing his swing to add some leverage, lift the ball, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What Led to Keon Broxton’s Breakout Year in Altoona?

    4 days ago

    Keon Broxton used to be one of the top prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. Baseball America ranked him as high as tenth in the system ...

    Read More
  • Adrian Sampson

    Don’t Forget About This Pitcher When Creating Your Pirates Dream Rotation

    5 days ago

    If you’re setting up a dream rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the not-too-distant future, then you’re going to be throwing out names like Tyler Glasnow, Gerrit ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement