Friday, March 4, 2011

Bullpen candidate profile: Pat Neshek

Pat Neshek's fastball
was stuck in the mid-80s
in 2010.
Pitcher: Pat Neshek
Throws: Right
Age: 30
Roster status: 40-man roster; at least one option left out of options one option left (note to self: Don't trust John Gordon's take on such things).

Chance of making team: He'd have to pitch his way off the roster.

It's rather startling to realize how long it's been since Pat Neshek was an effective major league reliever -- 2007.

It's testimony to how devastating his quirky sidearm delivery was on right-handers in his first 90 or so games that he is generally reckoned to be a favorite to make the 25-man roster.

But his recovery from Tommy John surgery has not been as smooth as that of Joe Nathan. When I saw him pitch in September in Target Field against the Kansas City Royals, he had nothing. His fastball was in the mid 80s, and that's not enough velocity.

A good rule of thumb with him: If his fastball is around 90 mph, he'll be effective. Around 85, not.

He had a very good inning Wednesday against Pittsburgh -- two weak groundball outs from left-handed hitters followed by a strikeout of a right-handed hitter.

That's a positive, although hardly decisive. More important to me will be what the radar guns tell us near the end of camp.

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