Gibson hoping to ramp up pitch velocity this year

Gibson hoping to ramp up pitch velocity this year

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson is happy with the way his sinker is coming along this spring and it was evident against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, as seven of the nine outs he recorded came via ground balls.

Gibson, making his second start of the spring, saw his sinker reach as high as 94 mph on the stadium radar gun and he believes he can pitch with increased velocity this season.

Gibson, who posted a 4.47 ERA in 179 1/3 innings in his first full year in the Majors last season, saw his fastball average 91.3 mph last year, according to Fangraphs.com.

"I think [throughout] the year I'd like to stay right around there," Gibson said of reaching 94 mph. "I think I can if I just maintain my body and keep a good workout regimen in between. There's no reason why I shouldn't be able to hold that strength throughout the year."

Gibson's outing against Toronto wasn't perfect, however, as he gave up a run on three hits and a walk over three innings. He was helped by center fielder Aaron Hicks in the first, who was able to throw out Russell Martin as he tried to advance to third on a single from Dalton Pompey. But Gibson was still pleased with the way he finished his outing with three straight groundouts in the third inning.

"It was sinking a little bit better today," Gibson said. "I was a little bit calmer in my second start. I didn't have as many jitters. I was still excited to be out there, obviously, but I was able to control it a little better. And in the third inning I was able to smooth out my delivery a little bit and finish pitches better."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.