Career-Defining Decision For Girodo
DUNEDIN, Fla.—Prior to the 2013 season, Mississippi State associate head coach Butch Thompson suggested to Chad Girodo that he drop his arm angle. The lefthander hated the idea—at the time.
Girodo wanted to be a weekend starter that year. He also wanted to get drafted.
"Me being young and not using my head at that time,” Girodo said, "I thought, ‘I’ll never get drafted throwing 80-poo from down here.’ ”
Reluctantly, he tried it during an intrasquad game, struck out the side and quickly embraced his new life throwing from low three-quarters. The Blue Jays made him a ninth-round pick in 2013, and this spring he made it to the last week of big league camp before being reassigned.
"I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Butch Thompson changing my arm angle,” Girodo said. "The whole goal is to break with the team. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I think I’ve thrown well . . .
"Now I just go (to the minors) and keep doing what I’ve been doing, and hope it works out in the future.”
The 25-year-old certainly has positioned himself for a callup with five shutout innings in six Grapefruit League appearances.
During a strong 2015 season at high Class A Dunedin, Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo, he held lefthanded batters to a .096 average (7-for-73), making him a potential matchup-relief option for Toronto.
Righthanders hit .282 in 149 at-bats.
"I pitched off my fastball more than I’ve done in my whole career,” Girodo said, "and I had a lot of success getting groundballs. That’s my game. I’ll strike out a guy every once in a while, but I’m more of a sinkerball guy
"You’ve got to swallow your pride a little bit and realize who you are. I feel like last year I found out who I was. That’s my identity, and I’m going to go with that.”
• Righthander Adonys Cardona, returning from a second broken olecranon in his right elbow, threw 94-97 mph in his first outing of the spring. The Blue Jays plan on being cautious with his workload this season.
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• Righthander John Stilson, returning from surgery to repair a labrum tear in August, is back throwing in the mid-90s. The reliever was on the cusp of the big leagues before his shoulder troubles hit last year.