Among this morning's news from the desert (I'll have the Tanana split, please, with the Bill Almons on the side) comes word from Susan Slusser and The Chronicle that while playing catch Dallas Braden wowed Dana Eveland with a couple nasty screwballs, and both of them agree Braden should mix it in to his 2009 arsenal.
Braden reports he has already added a cutter to his 2008 repertoire of fastball, changeup, and occasional breaking ball (curve) and that he plans to "petition the A's coaches" to allow him to throw the scroogie. Braden got on the minor league map thanks to the screwball, then abandoned it following an unusual arm injury (scar tissue and humural defect) and surprisingly quick recovery, both of which convinced the A's that reintroducing the screwball was not a wise course of action.
Curt Young is apparently not enthusiastic about the idea, citing that what Braden did last year was effective - and arguably, adding a cutter to a repertoire that succeeded in 2008 would keep Braden ahead of the competition. However, I'd be tempted to look at it differently...
The A's have so many young starters with higher ceilings than Braden - specifically Cahill, Anderson, Mazzaro, Gio, and Gallagher - that the A's would be better off for Braden to thrive for a couple seasons and get hurt than for him to be "decent" for several years. It seems like this is an opportunity to go "high risk, high reward" with a pitcher who will be passed up within the organization in a couple years anyway. So if adding the screwball increases the chance that Braden will pitch like a #2-#3 starter instead of a #4 starter, and also increases the chance that he will injure his arm before 2011, it seems to me as if everything points to "turn him loose!" What do you think?
Either way, I figure at least we're not the Dodgers, still wondering if the team's LFer is going to be Manny Ramirez or Juan Pierre. They're so similar in value, only their parents can tell them apart!
And Gio Gonzalez has reported to camp with 27 more pounds of him to love. He says most of the added weight is in his lower body, while Eveland says it's all in Gio's butt and Braden says it looks like Gio stuffed two watermelons down the backside of his pants. Hmm...Is the disease known as "Jerome Williams" contagious? If Gio comes out throwing 96MPH on the black, all I can say is, "Hubba hubba!"