Change for Hensley

Right-hander Clay Hensley served up a solo homer to Milwaukee’s J.J. Hardy but otherwise pitched a gem on Wednesday. Among other things, Hensley walked none over six innings at Peoria — always a good sign. Quoth skipper Bud Black: “His mound presence was great. He was in control. He moved the ball in and out and changed speeds.”

The bit about changing speeds is interesting. Apparently Greg Maddux has been working with Hensley on his grip. More accurately, Maddux has been teaching Hensley how to help himself with his grip. The trick? Throw a bad change-up:

By intentionally throwing a poor change-up in his practice sessions, Hensley was forced to fix the problem immediately, a teaching tool that Hensley soon appreciated.

This is a fascinating approach. Can you imagine the confidence required to intentionally throw a bad pitch as a diagnostic tool? Funny what 330 wins under your belt will do.

The proof is in the proverbial pudding, of course, and we can’t know what impact Maddux will have on the rest of the staff. This could be something, or it could be nothing. That said, it’s hard not to be encouraged by these kinds of stories.


I am in several places at once today. It’s like that Michael Keaton movie, only without the delicious Andie MacDowell:

Okay, time to pack for Peoria. I’m heading out to the desert first thing Friday morning. Assuming I can figure out how to do the wireless thing, I’ll be transmitting from points hotter and drier than here. Wish me luck…

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20 Responses »

  1. Hot? its suppose to rain tomorrow and Saturday in Peoria :-(

  2. thats suppose to be a frownie face im not sue what happened.

  3. And now it is a frownie face. Yeah, I guess I should check the weather reports before making any assumptions…

  4. A link that shows various pitching grips:

    As BB fans, we all imagine ourselves somewhere in the game. For me, its as a pitcher, probably a junk baller who could bunt and hit a little. Having a dog who chases tennis balls allows me to practice grips to see how the ball behaves. My fantasy is this: if I’m ever lucky enough to throw out a first pitch (hey, it could happen) it would damn well be from the rubber and it would damn well be a strike, a 45 mph strike, but a strike.

    Where would you be in the gaem, Geoff?

  5. thanks for the fix G.Y.

    Peoria weather report:

    Im there rain or shine, at least the coyoties play rain or shine.

  6. I don’t understand how throwing a bad changeup can teach about grip. can anyone enlighten me?

  7. #6: I think the idea is that if you already have trouble with the pitch, by intentionally duplicating what you normally do, you can isolate the problem and then work to correct it. At least that is my understanding.

  8. ‘Doug “One Tool, and Not a Particularly Useful One” Mirabelli’

    Haha…nice one Geoff

  9. See you in Peoria, Geoff and Steve! I’m driving out tomorrow morning, but won’t make there in time for the Padres game.

  10. Today’s starting lineup:


    Now, while we might want to tweak the order a bit, that’s a major league lineup. And one that, if it can stay healthy, I think is gonna put up some runs this year.

  11. 10: Not to mention it’s filled with some excellent nicknames.

  12. Be sure to check out SI’s letting everybody vote on our favorite baseball blogs. Ducksnorts (and ahem Gaslamp Ball) are up for Favorite Padres Blog along with San Diego Padres Mom and Padres MVN.

    Also, check out the issue. We’re all listed there.. IN PRINT! :)

  13. Hey Dex, thanks a bunch for the heads-up. Very cool!

  14. Another nice spring start:
    Maddux 5.0 IP – 3 H – 0 R – 0 BB – 0 K
    Pads win 1-0 in a rain-shortened (hear that, GY?) game.

  15. Should we be concern?


    Since 2003 — when he banged 21 homers and had a .916 on-base plus slugging mark, fantastic numbers for a second baseman — Marcus Giles has gone from seeing 3.49 pitches per plate appearance to 3.88 last season, while his slugging percentage has declined from .526 to .387. That’s no accident; over the past three seasons, in at bats that lasted five or more pitches, Giles hit only .214 and slugged .355.

  16. I want Kouz to start knocking some ding-dongs so we can hit him clean-up. Perhaps Wells can give him some of the ones he’s not eating now.

  17. 12 – I’m not getting that link to work … nor does a “search” on turn up anything for me … anyone else?

  18. Will I see some guy in Padres gear walking through the stands this weekend, waving books and calling out” get your red hot Ducksnorts” ?:)

  19. 17 – Sorry LynchMob… The period at the end had it screwed up…

    There you go!

  20. Throughout his career, Maddux has always been known as a brilliant strategist and student of the game, but one who seldom shared his insights with teammates. It’s at least possible this was because he know that in the business of baseball, teammates today would be competitors tomorrow.

    As he’s winding down his career, whatever self-imposed shackles prevented him from sharing his knowledge will be loosened. He has, and I mean this in a good way, much less to lose by sharing what he knows now.

    I expect him to be a terrific resource to the young Padres this year and next. He’s also a fascinating option as a coach down the road, though it’s hard to imagine the pay cut. :)

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