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The Winder-Upper

February 19th, 2008 by Ray

Out of stretch, Hoffman winds up

As far back as I can remember, Trevor Hoffman has always thrown out of the stretch. And not just any stretch, but a herky-jerky crazy stretch. When Trevor’s statue is put up next to Tony’s in Petco Park, he’ll be forever frozen in time out of the stretch.

Trevor Hoffman

Although, and I’m no sculptor, but this statue seems like it’d be a prime candidate to fall over. And maybe that’s the real reason Trevor’s gone to the windup.

Hoffman hasn’t deviated from a stretch delivery for more than a decade, since following the advice of Mike Roark, a Padres pitching coach who told Hoffman that by throwing exclusively from the stretch, he would become more accurate. “I’d say it’s been since 1994 or 1995 since I last did it,” he said of the windup.

The windup “might help generate a little more than out of the stretch,” Hoffman said. “Maybe it’ll allow me to get a little more downhill and get out in front.”

Hoffman said he would use the windup, which he and pitching coach Darren Balsley discussed recently, only if he doesn’t sacrifice his accuracy.

While it’s scary to think that our 40 year old, future Hall of Fame closer is changing things up this late in the game, I think he’s earned our trust. That, and I am far too concerned with what this windup is going to look like. Is it going to be his regular delivery, just this time starting with his toes pointed towards the plate? Is he going to go over his head and then into his regular delivery? Is his regular delivery going to be incorporated at all?

The season needs to start already so we can find out.

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