Norris happy with progress of new changeup

Norris happy with progress of new changeup

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Left-hander Daniel Norris has added another changeup to his arsenal of pitches, and the Blue Jays hope it will make him more effective against right-handed hitters.

Norris has always thrown a changeup, but the one he used in the past typically tailed into righties. The one he debuted vs. the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon moves away from right-handers and makes it a little harder for them to hit.

The 21-year-old has been experimenting with the pitch for the last week after a conversation with pitching coach Pete Walker, and the early returns seem to be positive.

"My whole career, I've thrown a cut change and it's played really well," Norris said. "But we sat down and talked this week and they were like, 'There's nothing wrong with it. It's just that you've got to have something that kind of goes the other way.'

"So we kind of messed around with something. They said, 'It's up to you if you want to try it.' I was like, 'Yeah. If it's going to make me better, I'll do it, sure.' And it worked today."

Norris intends to keep throwing both changeups just as he did against the Orioles. But it's another pitch that could confuse opposing hitters as he tries to keep them off balance in the box. It's also a changeup that doesn't have to be exclusively used against right-handers, either, as it can run in on the hands of lefties.

Norris struck out Adam Jones with the new changeup in the first inning and then again in the sixth. Overall, the native of Tennessee allowed one run on three hits while striking out seven in six strong innings of work.

"You really don't want that one cutting into those righties," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of using a different changeup. "That can be dangerous. If you get it to fade away like it did today, that's huge."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.