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Changeups for Everyone

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The Marlins organization is going to start teaching the pitchers changeups.

The Marlins know how tough it is to hit a changeup; Johan Santana gave them fits with it Monday. But the team hopes the pitch will soon become a franchise staple.

Under orders from baseball operations president Larry Beinfest, pitchers at every level in the organization are being taught the changeup this year, a lesson that started in spring training.

"It's just that hard of a pitch to pick up as a hitter," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "When you're changing speeds and you're throwing 89 and the next pitch is 84, it's hard."

Nothing wrong with developing a good changeup, if you can do it.  I'm reminded of a story I read some years ago about how Treavor Hoffman of the Padres discovered his ability to throw a killer changeup.  When the Padres realized that Hoffman's changeup was almost unhittable (especially when his fast ball was still in the mid-nineties before he hurt his shoulder) they instructed every pitcher in camp to learn how to throw it.  To make a long story short, almost, well, actually, none of the pitchers in camp could have much success with the pitch.  But nonetheless they were instructed to keep trying and all it did was take time away from them developing and perfecting the pitches that came more naturally to them.

Not saying that is going to happen with the Marlins, I'm just retelling a story.

But the Marlins changeup thing even gets more interesting.

Left-hander Andrew Miller said he plans to throw the changeup Wednesday in his Marlins debut.

"I might have thrown one or two last year the entire year," he said, adding that Marlins coaches have worked with him all spring on the pitch. "They've been on me. I've made enough progress where it's definitely a usable pitch."

Oh boy, experimental pitches in a regular season game with a pitcher who has been known to have control problems.  This will be good.

But hey, maybe Miller is one of the ones who actually has a feel for the never know.