SARASOTA, Fla. -- Matt Lindstrom has been experimenting with different grips for his slider, and the Orioles reliever finally found one he was comfortable with courtesy of new teammate Luis Ayala.
"I think the big man himself showed Ayala," Lindstrom said, referring to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. "It just allows me to get a little more speed on it. It looks like a fastball instead of a big looping slurve, curveball that I used to throw."
Acquired in an offseason trade from the Rockies, Lindstrom struggled in his Orioles debut Monday night, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in Baltimore's 10-3 loss to Pittsburgh. Lindstrom admitted he had some adrenaline going, and while he wasn't pleased with the results, the righty was encouraged with the way his slider felt.
"That's one thing I wanted to build on off of this outing, [is] to keep the velocity up a little bit," Lindstrom said of his slider, which was clocked at 87 mph. "In years past, it kind of loops out under my hand, [and] the hitter gets a better read on it and stuff. [On Monday night], it was shorter, more like my fastball out of my hand. So I'm pleased with the grip that I'm using now and I look forward to keep it going and getting it better."
A power pitcher, Lindstrom's fastball runs into the upper 90s, and by using a slider with more velocity, he thinks he will able to better utilize the pitch.
"That's something else that has kind of been my MO in my career, my downfall is my first hitter I get a guy with two strikes and try to get my stuff even nastier and then I get in a full count and have to throw a fastball," Lindstrom said. "But I threw it in some different counts, runners on base. ... [I'm] just getting a feel for that stuff."