Josh Green Finds What He's Looking For
The question was about the quality of Josh Green’s sinker, a pitch that was said to have fallen off last season, and the 25-year-old righthander didn’t even need to hear it in its entirety before providing an answer.
“It’s right where it needs to be,” Green said. “It’s doing what it’s supposed to right now—and some.”
When it is right, Green’s sinker can be a dominant pitch. It helped him record one of the highest groundball rates in the minors in 2019. But the pitch was said to have lost some of its effectiveness at the D-backs’ alternate training site last year.
Green said there was a good reason for that. He spent the bulk of last year working to refine his cutter. For years, the pitch—which in the past was more of a slider—wouldn’t behave in quite the way Green had wanted. But something clicked last year.
And so if the sinker temporarily lost some of its bite as a result, Green is more than OK with that trade-off.
“It’s been really satisfying,” said Green a 14th round pick in 2018 from Southeastern Louisiana. “For two or three years now, I’ve been trying to develop that with the slider I was throwing before and it was never quite good enough to be what I wanted it to be.
"Now I have that weapon (with the cutter) to be able to back lefties off the plate when I want to or to extend the plate to righties.”
Green said he spent part of the quarantine period throwing against a quilt that was clamped to a chain-link fence in his backyard. He eventually found a cutter grip that felt right, and when he got the team’s alternate site, he worked with the pitching coaches to further refine it.
He said he is trying to make his sinker and cutter look as similar as possible out of his hand, with the hope that their late life in opposite directions will cause problems for hitters.
“All the feedback I’ve gotten on the cutter is that it’s late and it’s sharp,” he said.
— Righthander J.B. Bukauskus will be used strictly as a reliever this spring, D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. Hazen did not rule out the potential for Bukauskus to start again in the future but said the club is eager to see how Bukauskas’ power stuff will play in relief.
— Righthander Luis Frias tested positive for Covid-19 in February, the D-backs said, delaying his arrival to Salt River Fields for spring training. Frias, a starter with power stuff, was added to the 40-man roster in November.