Wordekemper Wants To Get Down

From plain view, Eric Wordekemper's pre-game workout seemed fairly normal. Throw, stretch, run. Chat with Trenton pitching coach Scott Aldred. Same routine, different day. The only difference, of course, was what Wordekemper was preparing for.

After Thursday's day game, Eric Wordekemper is scheduled to make his first start in nearly two years, and nearly two levels of minor league baseball.

It's been that sort of season for Wordekemper [in Trenton for his first full season of Double-A baseball], where nothing has been as it was. The 6-foot-1 right-hander came into the season sporting a paltry 1.65 career ERA. In 22 games this year, that ERA sits squarely at a pedestrian 4.50.

"Ultimately, I just need to get my fastball down around the knees," Wordekemper noted when describing his early season struggles. "That's mainly where I'm getting hurt this year."

Already, in half as many games as he pitched last season, Wordekemper's walked more batters and given up more hits. That's not to mention he's already allowed five times as many runs this season.

"He is a strike-thrower, yet he's not throwing as many as he was last year. A little different situation down in Tampa than it is here," Trenton manager Tony Franklin remarked. "There's a few more disciplined hitters in this league than there is in A-ball. But, the fact of the matter is you've gotta throw more strikes."

If his last two appearances are any indication, maybe there are better things to come from the former Creighton University hurler. Five strikeouts in his last four innings of work, and only one run allowed. Wordekemper attributes the better efforts to some changes he and Aldred have made recently.

"We tweaked my mechanics a little bit so hopefully from here on out we'll be good," Wordekemper said. "Getting out over my front leg more, so I can finish my pitches. Like I said, my fastball's been up, around the thigh, and I need to work it down around the knees more."

In addition to some mechanical changes, Wordekemper has worked on a new pitch, while also trying to refine another.

"I've been able to work on my split a lot more up here, just throwing it more, and it's been very successful for me so far this year," the reliever noted. "My slider's gotten tighter for me, I think it's just more of just playing and throwing the pitches more."

So while he works on a splitter, improves a slider, and tinkers with new mechanics, Eric Wordekemper also has to deal, mentally and physically, with going from closer [last season in Tampa] to reliever to starter and likely back to reliever [this year in Trenton].

"It kind of brings me back to the year of ‘06, when I was in Charleston, I did quite a bit of relief and spot starting," Wordekemper reminisced. "It's a little different mindset, overall, not really. You just gotta go out there and pitch."

And pitch, he will. Wordekemper has the confidence of his coaches.

"I expect more out of him," said pitching coach Scott Aldred. "He hasn't thrown as well as he can, and I would think that he's not too far away from putting together some good outings."

More important though, Wordekemper has confidence in himself.

"I think the last half of the season should be successful for me," said Wordekemper. "Scotty and I have worked on some stuff, and some balance, so I'm pretty excited for the last half."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nAfter Thursday's day game, Eric Wordekemper is scheduled to make his first start in nearly two years, and nearly two levels of minor league baseball.
\r\n
\r\nIt's been that sort of season for Wordekemper [in Trenton for his first full season of Double-A baseball], where nothing has been as it was. The 6-foot-1 right-hander came into the season sporting a paltry 1.65 career ERA. In 22 games this year, that ERA sits squarely at a pedestrian 4.50.
\r\n
\r\n\"Ultimately, I just need to get my fastball down around the knees,\" Wordekemper noted when describing his early season struggles. \"That's mainly where I'm getting hurt this year.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlready, in half as many games as he pitched last season, Wordekemper's walked more batters and given up more hits. That's not to mention he's already allowed five times as many runs this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"He is a strike-thrower, yet he's not throwing as many as he was last year. A little different situation down in Tampa than it is here,\" Trenton manager Tony Franklin remarked. \"There's a few more disciplined hitters in this league than there is in A-ball. But, the fact of the matter is you've gotta throw more strikes.\"
\r\n
\r\nIf his last two appearances are any indication, maybe there are better things to come from the former Creighton University hurler. Five strikeouts in his last four innings of work, and only one run allowed. Wordekemper attributes the better efforts to some changes he and Aldred have made recently.
\r\n
\r\n\"We tweaked my mechanics a little bit so hopefully from here on out we'll be good,\" Wordekemper said. \"Getting out over my front leg more, so I can finish my pitches. Like I said, my fastball's been up, around the thigh, and I need to work it down around the knees more.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn addition to some mechanical changes, Wordekemper has worked on a new pitch, while also trying to refine another.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been able to work on my split a lot more up here, just throwing it more, and it's been very successful for me so far this year,\" the reliever noted. \"My slider's gotten tighter for me, I think it's just more of just playing and throwing the pitches more.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo while he works on a splitter, improves a slider, and tinkers with new mechanics, Eric Wordekemper also has to deal, mentally and physically, with going from closer [last season in Tampa] to reliever to starter and likely back to reliever [this year in Trenton].
\r\n
\r\n\"It kind of brings me back to the year of ‘06, when I was in Charleston, I did quite a bit of relief and spot starting,\" Wordekemper reminisced. \"It's a little different mindset, overall, not really. You just gotta go out there and pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd pitch, he will. Wordekemper has the confidence of his coaches.
\r\n
\r\n\"I expect more out of him,\" said pitching coach Scott Aldred. \"He hasn't thrown as well as he can, and I would think that he's not too far away from putting together some good outings.\"
\r\n
\r\nMore important though, Wordekemper has confidence in himself.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the last half of the season should be successful for me,\" said Wordekemper. \"Scotty and I have worked on some stuff, and some balance, so I'm pretty excited for the last half.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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