Breslow hopes new delivery will be effective

Left-hander developed new pitching style based on data

Breslow hopes new delivery will be effective

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After a disappointing 2016 season in which he posted a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings and was released by two teams, left-handed reliever Craig Breslow decided to reinvent himself this offseason with a new arm slot.

Breslow -- who signed with the Twins on a Minor League deal shortly before the start of Spring Training after hosting a showcase for at least 10 interested teams -- said it was simply time to make a change or risk retiring from baseball.

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"I was just struggling," Breslow said. "I wasn't getting the results I wanted. I felt like I was making pitches that had gotten guys out in the past, but it was no longer working. So I came to the realization that I had to make an adjustment and reinvent myself to stay in the game."

Breslow, who majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale, worked throughout the offseason to find the best grip and arm slot in order to maximize the spin on his pitches. He said it's still a work in progress, but he tested it out during live batting practice against Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano this week and said it went well. He'll get his next test on Sunday in his first Grapefruit League game.

"So far I feel pretty happy with the way things are progressing," Breslow said. "The first big test was facing hitters, and I feel like I've [gotten] more comfortable with the delivery as I've continued to throw. I've got some good feedback from guys. The ultimate test will be in a game, but I recognize it's a process, but I feel like I've been able to build on it every time out."

Breslow, 36, is one of several lefties competing for a spot in the bullpen, including Ryan O'Rourke and Buddy Boshers, who are both on the 40-man roster. Breslow will get a long look this spring, but much of it will depend on the effectiveness of his new delivery.

"I don't know how many pitchers or players have tried to take advantage of data and maybe kind of reinvent [themselves] at this stage in terms of arm angle and different things," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I know he's excited to see how it plays."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.