Berkman aids Gregerson in approach to lefty hitters

Former Astros great lends reliever advice from batter's point of view

Berkman aids Gregerson in approach to lefty hitters

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros pitching coach Brent Strom set up a meeting between pitcher Luke Gregerson and former slugger Lance Berkman on Wednesday so Gregerson could get a better idea how left-handed hitters view sinkers.

The two talked for about 15 minutes on one of the back fields at Osceola County Stadium in a conversation that Gregerson said covered a variety of topics, including how Berkman liked hitting against pitchers similar to him based on past encounters.

"Everything's always helpful when you get to talk to someone who has such success as a hitter," Gregerson said. "From a pitcher's standpoint, it's interesting to hear what gets in your head and what messes with them as a hitter and what keeps them off balance. Hopefully, it's something that I can transition to the mound against other guys down the road."

Berkman, a switch-hitter who just spent three days in camp as a guest instructor, loved hitting against sinker-ball pitchers.

Berkman at Astros camp

"You always hear lefties are low-ball hitters and most lefties don't want balls in on their hands or anything on the inside part of the plate," Berkman said. "Generally with sinkerballers, that's where they're trying to throw it, is down and out over the plate."

Such conversations between pitchers are hitters are rare, but Berkman said they shouldn't be.

"Those are fun conversations to have, because then there's back and forth," Berkman said. "It's a cat-and-mouse game all over again. That's the part of the game I really enjoyed."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.