ARLINGTON -- There was a time early in Spring Training when Jason Frasor had some concerns about his changeup. It is a critical pitch for the Blue Jays closer and it was slow to develop. On Wednesday night against the Rangers, Frasor's feel for his changeup returned.
"When that's working, it's just two completely different pitchers," Frasor said. "The wild card is the changeup. I'm confident as heck when that's working. You could put anybody out there -- I feel like I could do pretty well."
After Frasor allowed a leadoff double in the ninth inning, Rangers outfielder David Murphy swung and missed at the closer's second pitch -- a changeup. That was a great sign and an immediate confidence booster. Frasor went on to strike out Murphy and Taylor Teagarden, notching his first save of 2010 after inducing a game-ending groundout off the bat of Elvis Andrus.
It was the type of showing that Frasor enjoyed throughout 2009, when he fashioned a 2.50 ERA and held hitters to a .209 average. A main factor behind Frasor's career year last season was the addition of the changeup to complement his fastball and slider. Walton said it took time for the offspeed offering to come along this spring.
"I'd say probably his first four or five outings of Spring Training we really didn't have the changeup," Walton said. "He just didn't have a good feel for it, and I believe that's normal. I believe the changeup is one of the last things to come because it's a feel pitch. Another thing that generates a good changeup is arm speed and in Spring Training we're building arm speed.
"That's an important pitch for Frase and he's going to get more and more consistent with it as the year goes on."