SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles lefty Mark Hendrickson isn't just adopting a new delivery this spring, he's also adding a pitch. Hendrickson, a non-roster invitee who is trying to reinvent himself as a sidearmer, has been throwing a slider for the first time in his career.
"To be honest, I'm a completely different pitcher than anybody's ever seen, because I never threw the slider," Hendrickson said. "I always threw the curveball, but down [in the strike zone], you can kind of mess with some grips and see how it comes out -- slower, firmer. [I'll] talk to Darren [O'Day] and see how he throws stuff down there. I like what I got for feedback as far as the spin today with the couple that I did throw, so that was good."
Hendrickson threw his seventh bullpen session on Thursday since adopting the new approach, and he said his delivery feels very natural despite the short amount of time.
"Obviously there's going to be times I need to kind of incorporate some of the things they're trying, but if you talk to [pitching coach] Rick [Adair], in the first two days I threw in Baltimore, it was exciting to see how quickly I picked up some of the stuff we talked about on Wednesday, and then when I came back and threw on Friday," Hendrickson said. "But the key for me, too, is getting some games where it's just time to compete."
Hendrickson threw to some college hitters over the weekend before reporting to Sarasota and it's possible he might stay at the Spring Training complex when the season starts to continue working on his delivery. Hendrickson could also be assigned to one of the Orioles' affiliates.
"There's probably not a person more excited being here than Mark," manager Buck Showalter said of Hendrickson, who contacted him this winter. "It's not that he missed it, but you can tell that he enjoys it. It's like he's got a new toy. It's kind of like R.A. Dickey. You've got to have failure. It's got to be, 'I can no longer do it.' He knew after a year away that it was over, conventionally the way he was doing it, but he knows that this isn't a one- or two-week tryout. This is something that takes time, and he's willing to do whatever it takes, and we're willing to do what it takes if we think at the end of camp that it's something we want to proceed with.
"I'm not going to say never, but this is a work in progress. You can't just all of a sudden change your arm angle and think you're going to get Major League hitters out consistently."