Volquez flourishing behind improved curveball

Right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez is off to a solid start in his second stint with Triple-A Oklahoma. In 13 innings, the 23-year-old has surrendered just two runs on three hits. Lone Star Dugout caught up with Volquez last Saturday, two days after his first start with the RedHawks.

Edinson Volquez made his return to Triple-A last Thursday, surrendering only one run on one hit in seven innings of work. The hard-throwing righty walked four and struck out six.

"My fastball was good and my changeup was pretty good," said Volquez. "I threw about 12 curveballs and six for strikes. That is fifty percent. It was good too."

Volquez believes one of the reasons for his success this season has been the development of his curveball, giving him a third above-average offering.

"I can tell you right now my curveball is a lot better," he said. "It got better and better during my last four games with Frisco. In my last start, it was only about fifty percent like I said before, but it is getting better."

Because he was just recently re-promoted to Oklahoma, Volquez has only begun working with pitching coach Andy Hawkins.

"I'm just throwing bullpens," said Volquez. "We're working on my pitch sequences to hitters, but that's all for right now."

Volquez, who made 21 starts with Oklahoma one season ago, posted a 3.21 ERA in 120 2/3 innings in 2006. He struck out 130 while holding opposing batters to a .203 batting average. However, he struggled with his control, issuing 72 walks.

The 23-year-old says his second Triple-A stint doesn't feel much different than his first.

"It's still baseball," explained Volquez. "It is a little bit different because I was in Frisco and Bakersfield and I know they have better hitters here. But it's still baseball. I don't think there's any difference."

While he was with High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco, Volquez spent the majority of his time working to attack hitters and command his fastball within the strike zone. The native of the Dominican Republic believes he is doing a better job of that this time around.

"Yeah, I think so," said Volquez, when asked if he is attacking hitters differently this year. "I feel better this year and I'm more comfortable. I feel like I am throwing more strikes than last year."

Volquez made his second Triple-A start of the season on Tuesday, giving up just one run on two hits in six innings. Though he walked the bases loaded in the first inning, he didn't issue a free pass in his final five frames. Volquez struck out eight.

With two solid Triple-A starts under his belt, the righty believes he will make his return to the majors at some point this season.

"I talked to my agent and he said I was going to be back in the big leagues this year," he said. "I don't know when, but I hope it's soon."

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