From Bryan Hoch (MLB):
Chien-Ming Wang may not share A.J. Burnett’s fervor for tattoos, saying that his mother would kill him if he were ever caught inking up his body.
But the Yankees teammates have found plenty of other subjects to discuss this spring.
One of the points that Burnett has stressed to Wang since arriving in camp has been the urgency of developing his other pitches, playing off a bowling-ball sinker that has been regarded as one of the league’s best.
The suggestion is not a new one for Wang, who was tinkering with his offspeed pitches leading up to a season-ending injury last season. But hearing it from a power pitcher like Burnett may ratchet up the intensity of the message.
“A.J. told me a lot about changing speeds,” Wang said. “More changeups, more sliders.”
Although Wang has attempted to “evolve” as a pitcher and supplement his sinker by incorporating his secondary pitches — a move that has lead to an increase in his strikeout rate — you have to wonder whether this is wise, especially since he has seemingly sacrificed some control in order to do so. Again, if it’s not broke, why fix it? The sinker has been Wonder Wang’s bread and butter and, while I’m fine with mixing it up, especially against lefties, you shouldn’t venture too far from what made you successful, right? Who cares if its somewhat unconventional — it works.
Therefore, you have to question A.J.’s advice. Sure, he means well, but it’s different strokes for different folks and all pitchers have varying styles. In his most recent outing, Wang “grounded” the Astros, inducing 10 groundouts with his boring ol’ sinker. It’s not the sexiest pitch in the AL, however, you can’t argue with its overall effectiveness. Obviously, it’s fine if Wang is making subtle pitching style alterations in order to keep hitters honest, though he shouldn’t alter his style in a drastic (and detrimental) fashion (where the slider becomes as prominent as the sinker).
This brings me the following post from Pete Abraham (LoHud):
Wang said he has talked more to Burnett this spring as their lockers are closer together.“What does A.J. tell you?” I asked.
“Bad things,” Wang said as everybody laughed.
Might Wang get a few tattoos like his new buddy?
“No,” he said, eyes wide. “My Mom would kill me.”
“Bad things,” huh? Maybe Wang wasn’t referring to tattoos. Maybe he was referring to A.J.’s pitching advice?