"I felt like I did good, excellent by no means," Mike Dunn said of his big league camp performance. "By the time I got out of there in my last outing I struggled a little bit, but I just learned a lot.
"I got to know a lot of the guys and I kind of just took it all in. I just tried to learn as much as I could and I felt like I did a good job."
He posted a 2.25 ERA in four appearances for the Yankees this spring, including his admirable job of getting his team out of a tough spot against Team USA when he came in with runners on first and second and with nobody out, and got out of the inning unscathed.
But perhaps the bigger accomplishment for the one-time starting pitcher, one who was transitioned to the bullpen so he can focus more on his fastball-slider combination, was just how much his changuep has come around recently.
"I threw it a lot and I threw it quite a bit up in big league camp too," he said. "In my outing against Team USA I couldn't get my slider.
"I could throw two-strike sliders but I couldn't throw it for a strike so I was using it late and they were experienced enough that they weren't going to swing at it late in the count. I went to my changeup.
"This year my changeup's been amazing so far. If I can keep that going, and I'm starting to dial in the slider now, and I threw a lot of good ones [Monday], I'll be pretty happy if I can get all three working right at the beginning of the season. That'll be good."
Stuff-wise, he was very happy with his work in big league camp and he says the biggest lesson he learned there was to stay within himself.
"For me, on the field, I think I just tried to do too much," Dunn said. "I was just trying to get my velocity real early to where it was at the end of the year. I was pulling out with my front shoulder real bad.
"The games where I kept my front shoulder in I had better velocity and my stuff was better. In my last outing I was pulling out real bad and I walked a couple of guys.
"It's just making that adjustment on the spot. Go out there and stay within yourself, that's what I need to do."
Learning to allow the game to come to him more and not press the issue is a lesson all prospects must learn, as is not giving too much credit to your opponent.
That's something he believes is one obstacle he cleared in big league camp and a major step towards becoming the big league pitcher he hopes to be soon.
"That initial shock when you get that first call-up – we talked about it where guys go in there and say ‘I'm pitching to this guy' or ‘look at the defense behind me'," he said.
"I got that out of the way to where I played with the A-team a couple of times and I faced Team USA which is an All-Star lineup. I got a feeling that shock isn't going to be as bad. I think I can take a lot out of it."
Dunn Over First Hurdle
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