Last February and March, Joe Blanton struck manager Charlie Manuel as the Phillies' sharpest pitcher during spring training. Then Blanton posted a 8.41 earned run average in April, and did not win a game until his fifth start, on May 4.
"It was a really big pitch for me last year," he said. "It's a big pitch in today's game. It really keeps hitters off balance."
This year, he is working to ensure that the change-up will be fully functional right away, which would help him avoid another unsavory April.