Zach Duke will remain in the rotation
Manager John Russell announced that Zach Duke will remain in starting rotation after having a much better side session.
“He’s been working on some things, had better tempo, better arm speed,” Russell said of Duke’s side session. “We took some hitters down to watch him. He was good. Hopefully, that’s something he can build off. He looked more … Zach-ish, I would say.”
Russell had previously said Duke has consistently looked good during his side session despite having horrible outings.
“This was a little different. He was a little less choppy, more fluid, more aggressive down in the zone. The kid’s worked hard. I’d like to give him the opportunity to straighten some things out.”
Pitching coach Ray Searage said his biggest thing to overcome would be his mind.
“The biggest thing was not trusting himself — trying to make his stuff better rather than taking the stuff that he had in the side into the game,” Searage said, when asked if he could pinpoint the root of Duke’s recent struggles. “Instead, he’s trying to make the slider sharper that much more or the sinker sink that much more or the changeup be that much more of a deception pitch. He got out of himself. We’re trying to help him find his identity to be Zach again.”
Duke will start on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park.