djm305 Posted April 24, 2008 Share Posted April 24, 2008 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...story?track=rss Nolasco OK with splits BY JUAN C. RODRIGUEZ | South Florida Sun-Sentinel April 24, 2008 ATLANTA - The Pirates' telecast Tuesday night zoomed in on Ricky Nolasco's grip at one point. It clearly showed Nolasco's index and middle finger spread wide over the ball before he threw a pitch that plummeted as it reached the plate. No doubt about it. Nolasco was throwing a split-finger fastball. He worked on the pitch during spring training and it turns out he throws a nice one. "I always thought I would have a pretty good feel for it," Nolasco said. "With the split, I'm pretty dominant with these two fingers [index and middle]. I felt I could just throw it without trying to baby it like a regular circle change." The split has replaced the changeup in Nolasco's arsenal. It should prove a particularly effective weapon against left-handers, who hit .338 off him in 2006 when he appeared in 35 games (22 starts). Nolasco is just as likely to start a hitter with a split as he is to throw it on a full count. He has compared notes with Lee Gardner and others who throw it, and tried out a few different grips, including the traditional middle and index fingers along the horseshoe part of the seams. "It's pretty much something I just need to get over for strikes and keep down," Nolasco said. "As long as I stay through it, it's got some pretty good drop there at the end." Among the drawbacks is it's a tough pitch on the elbow. Nolasco spent most of last season sidelined with elbow inflammation and didn't experiment with it then, but he has no reservations about throwing it now. "I'm 100 percent healthy," he said. "As long as I'm throwing it right, I'll be fine." Vintage Cantu Third baseman Jorge Cantu entered Wednesday's game among the team's hottest hitters. He drove in both runs in the Marlins' 3-2 loss Tuesday, including one with a solo homer, and was 10 for his past 17 (.588) through Tuesday, raising his average to a season-high .338. His offensive performance is familiar to a few of his teammates. Pitchers Mark Hendrickson and Doug Waechter played with Cantu in 2005, when he hit 28 homers and knocked in 117 for Tampa Bay. "This is reminiscent of what he did that year," Waechter said. "That whole year he was just locked in. When a player gets locked in it's usually for a two-month period. He lasted all year with it." Cantu has been able to keep some off-field issues from becoming a distraction. A Pinellas County Court judge recently denied St. Petersburg resident Nanci Michelle Ikerd's request for a temporary protection order, according to agent Steve Canter. Wednesday, after a hearing was held on the matter, Canter reiterated allegations that his client verbally threatened and bruised Ikerd's arm in February were false. Ikerd has the right to continue pursuing the issue and a continuance was granted until May 7. Trophy fish Director of media relations Matt Roebuck rejoined the team in Atlanta two days after completing the Boston Marathon. Marlins coaches, players and staff had a surprise waiting for him. Half the team emerged and presented Roebuck with a five-foot trophy commemorating his accomplishment. Luis Gonzalez, who sponsored Roebuck, tried to chide him into taking a lap around Turner Field with the trophy, prompting Roebuck to say, "I can barely walk." My question is, why doesn't he use it more? It looked like a pretty nice pitch when he threw it. He can use this an an out pitch. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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