Siegrist rediscovering some velocity

Siegrist rediscovering some velocity

NEW YORK -- Having mastered the mechanics he introduced during the spring, lefty Kevin Siegrist has now slowly been rediscovering some of the velocity those alterations briefly cost him.

Forced to change his delivery to cut down on his time to the plate, Siegrist found himself with a little less zip early. However, he's been reintroducing his leg kick, which, he explained, allows him to get through his delivery with more momentum. The result has been more mph, too.

During Monday's relief appearance, Siegrist averaged 96 mph on his fastball for the first time this season. In three of the four appearances before that, he hit an average of 95. Over his first 15 starts, his average fastball velocity each game was 93-94.

"Sometimes when I was quick-stepping, or whatever you want to call it, I would feel like I got ahead of myself, and I would just start cutting fastballs, and they would feel like they would die out at the end," Siegrist said. "Whereas now, when I lift my leg more, I feel like I stay behind it a little more and get back on top of the ball."

The adjustment hasn't negated his work in being quicker to the plate, either.

"If he gets to the point where he takes away our opportunity to take away the running game, we'll right the course," manager Mike Matheny said. "But he's been at a good middle ground right now. We weren't looking at trying to set world records. We were looking at trying to quicken it up a little bit."

After a shaky 2014, Siegrist has a 0.96 ERA through 20 games to open this season. His changeup has made him particularly effective against right-handed batters, who are batting .178/.229/.333 against him. Improving his results against left-handed batters -- who have hit him at a .273/.414/.318 clip -- is still a focus.

Worth noting:

• Center fielder Jon Jay (tendinitis in left wrist) has resumed taking swings in the batting cages and was again on the field on Tuesday afternoon throwing. It was the latter that was giving him particular trouble in the days leading up to his being placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Cardinals are optimistic that Jay will come off the DL when eligible on May 26.

• Shortstop Rafael Furcal, who won a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2011, announced his retirement on Tuesday. Furcal came to the Cardinals in a Trade Deadline deal in 2011 and returned under a two-year deal signed that offseason. Injuries limited him to only 121 games with the club over the course of that contract.

"What a great guy. What a great personality for the game," Matheny said. "He was a good teammate, a good guy to have on our club. There are still guys yelling some of his quotes [including his 'Happy Flight' mantra], as much as we could understand them."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.