Mechanical changes paying off for Reed

Hale considering using former closer in save situations once more

Mechanical changes paying off for Reed

MILWAUKEE -- It has taken a little while, but now when D-backs right-hander Addison Reed takes the mound, he is focused simply on pitching and not his mechanical changes.

After allowing a ninth-inning grand slam that cost the D-backs a win against the Nationals on May 13, manager Chip Hale removed Reed from his closer's role and the coaching staff began reworking his mechanics.

Gone was Reed's high leg kick, replaced by almost a slide step. And he moved from the third-base side of the pitching rubber to the first-base side.

The lack of a leg kick has helped Reed stay online towards home plate more, whereas in the past he had a tendency to drift towards third base and wound up throwing across his body.

"It's where I feel comfortable and where I've always been," Reed said of his position on the rubber. "Last year moved to the third-base side trying different things, but the first-base side is where I feel comfortable."

And the lower leg kick has paid dividends as Reed had a runner thrown out at second base attempting to steal for the first time in his career.

Since Reed broke out his new mechanics in a two-inning stint against the Phillies on May 16, his ERA is 2.25. Prior to that, it was 7.20.

"Everything feels good," Reed said. "I said the first time I went out in Philly was the first time you can call them new mechanics, and that felt a little weird, but each time I've gone out it's felt better every time. Now I'm not thinking about anything other than trying to throw strikes. Not thinking anything about mechanics, just going out there trying to throw strikes."

Reed's velocity has ticked up with the new mechanics, and he's been so impressive that Hale is now thinking about pitching him again in save opportunities, though he will still study the matchups before deciding.

Eventually, Hale would like to have set roles.

"I do believe, in the end, if you look at all the teams that win and are in first place, you can pretty much tell who's going to pitch the ninth, who's going to pitch the eighth, who's going to pitch the seventh," Hale said. "I think eventually we need to settle that down and figure that out."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.