Chapman learning to use changeup effectively

Astros lefty utilizing third pitch to fool hitters

Chapman learning to use changeup effectively

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Lefty Kevin Chapman understands the importance of having a third pitch, which is why he plans to incorporate his changeup more this year. He started throwing the pitch when he was called back to the big leagues last year and saw good results.

Chapman, a fastball-slider pitcher, pitched in 21 games over three stints in Houston last year, posting a 2.30 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in his final 15 2/3 innings following his Aug. 15 callup to the Majors. In 5 2/3 innings with the Astros over his first two stints, he had an 11.12 ERA.

"[The changeup is] something I sort of messed with last year when I was sent down and I was in Triple-A," Chapman said. "I thought while I was there I'd try to throw it and get another pitch. When I came back up, I didn't use it that much, but when I did, it was effective. That's something I really wanted to explore and see what it's got for me."

Chapman said having a third pitch keeps hitters guessing more, even if he doesn't use it much.

"Last year, it wasn't like key situations or a full count or something like that, but any time I had an opportunity to use it in a situation that's not vital to one pitch, I used it and I was getting good results and getting it for strikes, and when guys were putting it in play, it was weak contact," he said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.