Higher Arm Slot Yields Results For Athletics' Godfrey





OAKLAND—It worked for Walter Johnson and Don Drysdale, but a sidearm delivery did no favors for righthander Graham Godfrey.

Last season, Triple-A Sacramento pitching coach Scott Emerson noticed that Godfrey's arm angle had dropped from 2009.

"I was pretty low," Godfrey said. "Once your arm angle gets that low, it's tough to stay on top of the ball. By raising it up a little bit, I was able to command the bottom part of the zone, which as you get through the levels, that's the name of the game."

A higher slot also boosted Godfrey's velocity, and now he pitches at 90-91 mph and hits 93. He worked on his new mechanics in the Puerto Rican League over the winter and came to spring training as a different pitcher. The 26-year-old made one scoreless start for Double-A Midland this season before moving up to Sacramento, where he put together the best run of his career, going 7-1, 2.50 in nine starts.

"I was just feeling confident," Godfey said. "This is how it's supposed to go. I was working really hard. The team as a whole was a lot of fun to play for, a lot of positive energy in the clubhouse."

Godfrey finally got his chance to shine in Oakland when injuries struck the pitching staff. He learned of his callup while dozing on a team flight home from Colorado Springs.

"Graham Godfrey has been promoted to the big leagues," he heard over the loudspeaker. "We wish him the best of luck."

With a chorus of applause, Godfrey choked up. "It was really exciting, and one of the best experiences of my life," he said. "I couldn't wait to get off the plane and tell my family."

He made his big league debut on June 10 against the White Sox and lasted 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Seven days later, Godfrey faced off against the Giants' Tim Lincecum and pitched seven strong innings in a 5-2 victory.

"This kid is a warrior," pitching coordinator Gil Patterson said. "He's not afraid, and he's not an excuse-maker. Sometimes it just takes guys a while to find themselves."

A's ACORNS

• The A's suspended lefthander Ian Krol for making a derogatory remark on Twitter that included a homophobic slur. He had just returned to action in the Rookie-level Arizona League after missing the start of the season with an elbow injury.

• Outfielder Jermaine Mitchell received a promotion to Sacramento after a dominant first half for Midland. He led the Texas League in average (.355) and on-base percentage (.453) during the first half.