Diamondbacks Bring Doug Drabek Back To The Game
PHOENIX—During former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek's time in Pittsburgh, pitching coach Ray Miller gave his starters T-shirts that read: Work Fast, Throw Strikes, Change Speeds.
The philosophy fits Drabek's approach so well that he is thinking of reprising the shirts this season, when he will return to Organized Baseball for the first time in 11 years as the pitching coach at for short-season Yakima.
Drabek, who won the National League's top pitching honor after going 22-6, 2.76 with the Pirates in 1990, credits Miller for being a major influence in his development.
"He was very big on working fast, which I am, too," Drabek said. "I used to be slow. Get the ball back, walk around the mound. But the fielders don't like it. The dugout doesn't like it. If you work fast, it speeds the game up, and it doesn't give the hitters much time to think.
"Throwing strike one allows you to do more things. And I learned to change speeds with my curveball, my changeup and my fastball, obviously. It all helps."
Drabek, 47, is no stranger to coaching. After a 13-year major league career, he retired in 1998 to be with his children as they grew up. He helped coach their youth league teams in the Houston area, and after sons Kyle (a first-round pick by the Phillies in 2006) and Justin turned pro, he devoted a few years to traveling in order to see them play.
But Drabek was never far from the game. When Justin pitched for Chillicothe of the independent Frontier League, Doug spent a few weeks as their pitching coach at the request of manager Glenn Wilson, who had played with him in Pittsburgh.
When Arizona had an opening this winter, farm director Mike Berger quickly turned to Drabek.
"I would hope that I've learned over the years that I can give the guys plenty of options and things to think about," Drabek said.
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