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February 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Pitchers throwing the ball and Erasmo Ramirez hopes to stay healthy

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Here’s some video of bullpen group two. That would be Scott Baker, Erasmo Ramirez, Andrew Carraway and Matt Palmer throwing in their bullpen session. I know, I’m the next Scorcese.

Ramirez looked pretty sharp in the bullpen today. Of course, about a year ago I was typing the same thing. Ramirez would go on to have a brilliant first half of spring training last year. It looked like he had cemented a spot in the rotation.

And then it fell apart. Ramirez began to feel tightness in the triceps of his throwing arm. It got worse and he was shut down. The cause of the strain came from lifting weights. He was trying to build too much strength in his tricept while not maintaining flexibility.

“I was using too much weight,” he said “I was trying to make it stronger, but at the same time I didn’t realize I have to be stronger AND flexible.”

Ramirez was shut down with a few weeks left in the spring and didn’t start another game until May 28 with AA Jackson and then moving to Tacoma after that first start.

He was called up on July 11 and made 13 starts and one relief appearance, posting a a 5-3 record with a 4.98 ERA. In 72 1/3 innings pitched, he struck out 57 batters, but walked 26 hitters. The walks were surprising since Ramirez issued just 12 walks in 59 innings pitched with Seattle in 2012.

“That’s not me,” he said. “Everybody who knows me, knows I’m aggressive and throw strikes. When you are throwing a lot of balls, you can’t make excuses, you have to come back and make adjustments.”

Ramirez believes in “pounding the zone” – a phrase he uses often. But he just didn’t feel right.

“I just didn’t have the feel,” he said. “Some days it just didn’t feel right with my arm and my body going to home plate. You have to figure out what you are doing wrong and make an adjustment.”

Ramirez feels like he’s done that now. He’s found the conditioning program that works for him. He’s also comfortable in his mechanics and his command. It started to come together during winter ball in Venezuela with the Lara Cardenales.

“I felt really good,” he said. “Winter ball helped me a lot to realize what to do.”

Ramirez made six starts going 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA. He was outstanding in the first five starts, allowing two earned runs in 26 innings pitched, while striking out 16 batters and walking eight. His last start was forgettable, going just 2 1/3 and allowing seven runs on 10 hits. But Ramirez felt like he started to get closer to where he wants to be.

“I’m just trying to keep the same mechanics for every pitch,” he said.

Ramirez said he’s feel good now. His bullpen session was crisp.

“I just have to keep healthy,” he said.

As for making the rotation, Ramirez isn’t concerned with that. His goal is simple: “Attack, attack, attack. Throw strikes and if you miss – be down and not in the middle.”




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