Main changes mechanics

After posting five dominant starts with the Rookie level Arizona Rangers, right-handed pitcher Michael Main was promoted to short-season Spokane. Lone Star Dugout recently spoke with Main about his time with the Indians, his recent development, and his offseason plans.

"I was expecting myself to be promoted up," said Michael Main of his mid-August promotion to short-season Spokane. "It was great that I did and I worked hard in Arizona, but I kind of expected myself to get the promotion."

The Rangers assigned Main -- the 24th overall pick in the 2007 draft -- to the Rookie level Arizona Rangers after he signed in June. The league proved to serve little competition for the right-hander, as he surrendered only two runs on nine hits in 12.2 innings. Over that time, he walked six and struck out 16.

Main says that when he signed, the Rangers told him he would get a chance to move up in the organization this season.

"They said I would have to come in and work hard and they would give me the opportunity to possibly move up to Spokane," he said. "At the same time, you still have to come in and work hard. That's what I did. They had an expectation of me to move up to Spokane and I had an expectation to move up as well."

The Deland, Florida native made five starts for Spokane and posted a 2-0 record with a 4.70 ERA. He logged 15.1 innings, allowed 14 hits, walked seven, and struck out 18. The hurler was mostly pleased with his efforts with the Indians.

"I felt I pitched fairly well," said Main when asked about his time with Spokane. "I got hit around at times but I made the adjustments I needed to after the first outing. Other than that I thought I pitched pretty well."

Main struggled in his first Northwest League outing, as he allowed five earned runs on four hits and three walks in just 2 1/3 innings. After that start, he realized what it would take to succeed in the higher level.

"I realized I have to hit my spots," replied Main. "Staying down in the zone is a big thing. In the Arizona League, if you left the ball up, you would pay for it once in awhile. A guy would hit a double in the alley or something like that. But if you left the ball up in the zone in the Northwest League, all of the guys were hitting doubles or home runs. You could get away with a little more in the Arizona League."

Main throws a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.
The 18-year-old says the Northwest League hitters – who are typically up to four years older than their Arizona League counterparts – are simply more developed both physically and mentally.

"The hitters are just a little more developed," said Main of the differences in the two leagues. "There weren't as many free swingers where you could throw a curveball in the dirt and they'd swing after it. You really had to make good, quality pitches for guys to swing. You're pitching to get outs. You are pitching for contact really. You have to make a pitch that they have to hit into the ground or pop up. Not a whole lot of guys are just striking out."

After his rough initial outing, Main allowed only three earned runs over his next three starts. However, his fifth and final Northwest League outing of the season was cut short when Yakima leadoff man Evan Frey – the game's first batter – nailed Main on the leg with a line drive. Main left the game, but he claims it was not a serious injury.

"It was just precautionary," said the Florida native. "There's still a little bruise, but it's not an injury. They just wanted to take me out as a precautionary move."

During his time in Spokane, Main worked on making a mechanical change out of the stretch.

"Throwing out of the stretch was something I had been working on," he said. "I've always thrown out of a slide step. This year they wanted me to get a little more leg lift in, so I've been working on that."

The righty, who says his fastball ranged anywhere between 91-95 MPH with the Indians, also worked to develop his changeup.

"In high school I didn't really need to use [the changeup] much because it really sped up hitter's bats and allowed them to put the ball in play a lot more," said Main. "Out in the Northwest League, the hitters are advanced and it's just something to keep them off-balance and give them a different look. It keeps them from sitting on my fastball or adjusting to the curve."

Main believes he will be focusing on both his leg lift and changeup when he attends Fall Instructional League later this month.

"Those two things are probably the biggest two things I have been working on," he said. "I expect that those are probably two things that I will work on in instructs."

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