Radar guns early in spring? Cubs offer their take

Radar guns early in spring? Cubs offer their take

MESA, Ariz. -- The Brewers will not be using radar guns for the first two weeks of Spring Training games so their pitchers can focus on command, not how hard they're throwing. Cubs reliever Zac Rosscup agrees with the philosophy.

"I expect my velocity to be down in spring anyway when you're just starting to face hitters," Rosscup said Wednesday. "I think it picks up later in Spring Training. If the radar gun is there or not, you still have to make pitches."

Manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs don't rely on the radar gun to determine how well pitchers are throwing.

"It doesn't really matter to me what they're throwing velocity-wise. Just get hitters out, throw strikes to get hitters out," Maddon said Wednesday. "The hitters will let you know how well you're throwing the baseball."

Most stadiums post the pitch speed on the scoreboard somewhere. Does Rosscup ever look during games to see how hard he is throwing?

"Maybe I'll watch video and notice it in the corner on videos of past outings," Rosscup said. "I don't pay attention to it. It's not something I value. I don't throw 100 [mph], so I'm not wondering if I'm throwing 100 that day. It's not that important to me. I just try to focus on hitting spots and executing pitches. To me, velocity is overrated."

Blake Parker admitted he does sneak a peek at the pitch speed during games.

"I definitely look," Parker said. "Some days you've got it, some days you don't, and it's good to know when you have that extra little gas behind it, and you might be able to sneak it by somebody. If you don't have it that day, you could tell yourself you need to throw another pitch."

What about Spring Training?

"As far as over-throwing and guys trying to impress and make the team on the first day, I can understand it, especially the first couple weeks when guys are trying to impress everybody," Parker said. "It's not a bad tactic."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.