PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Faced with the reality of his declining fastball velocity, Jason Isringhausen did something Thursday that he hadn't attempted in more than a dozen years.
During a live batting-practice session, Isringhausen uncorked a few changeups in addition to his usual array of fastballs, curves and cutters, attempting to add a fourth pitch into his arsenal.
"I think as your velocity drops, you need something to get them off your fastball," Isringhausen said. "Would it be my bread and butter? Not right now. But it could be. I've always told myself I can do anything with a baseball if I work at it."
Said manager Terry Collins: "It really had good life to it. With his arm speed, I think it would be very effective."
In Isringhausen's estimation, he hasn't regularly thrown a changeup since his last season as a full-time starter, way back in 1997. Since born again as a reliever, Isringhausen has focused his energies exclusively upon his fastballs, cutters and curveballs -- the latter being his primary out pitch.
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Though he doesn't envision the changeup becoming a prevalent part of his repertoire, Isringhausen does plan to use it during games -- if for no other reason than to prove that he can throw it. No longer pitching regularly in the mid-90s, Isringhausen feels he needs to add an element of deception to his game, giving hitters something else to keep in the back of their minds.
"I just never needed it," Isringhausen said. "When you're throwing in the mid-90s, you don't need a changeup."