Wetherell Continues To Improve

Wetherell has seen marked improvements

CHARLESTON, SC — Going into his second stint with the Charleston RiverDogs, Phil Wetherell felt confident about the experiences he gained late last season when he was given the starting role. Those starts have helped the 225-pound pitcher in the bullpen during the 2013 season.

Wetherell was selected by the New York Yankees in the eighth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Western Kentucky University. Before that the 6-foot-5 pitcher attended Kaskaskia College in Illinois as a freshman before transferring to Western Kentucky.

The right-handed pitcher worked hard during Spring Training and feels confident about his experience in Tampa.

"It went pretty well," Wetherell said. "I went over some of the objectives that the Yankees went over with me.

"The plan was to always get stronger," the 23-year old stated. "I worked on my mechanics, keeping the ball low and trying to get a consistent breaking ball."

Originally from Illinois, Wetherell was not disappointed about coming back to Charleston for a second season.

"I can't look it that way," Wetherell said emphatically. "The Yankees have a plan for everybody and this is where I fit into it, so I came here and I just need to pitch.

"Our pitching coach, Danny Borrell, always says, ‘If you don't like it pitch better', so that is what I need to do."

Late into the 2012 season with the RiverDogs, Wetherell was moved to starting pitcher. The lessons Wetherell learned during those starts is something he has brought with him into this season.

"I definitely learned how to conserve pitches and get through innings," Wetherell revealed. "One of the biggest things I learned from last year is reading hitters, as far as their swings and where they are standing within the box."

So far with the RiverDogs, Wetherell has recorded 30 strikeouts and has an ERA of 3.96. The pitcher is known for his fastball/split-finger combination, which is apart of his game that he is pleased with thus far this season.

"It is coming along great," Wetherell continued. "I really got comfortable with it late last season and it has carried over this year.

"Danny, my pitching coach, is impressed with it, which gives me a lot of confidence," Wetherell mentioned. "It is kind of a simple pitch, I throw it like a fastball and the grip takes care of the rest."

Second year pitching coach Danny Borrell has seen a major change in Wetherell since last season. During Spring Training, Borrell worked with Wetherell on his slider and has recognized its progression this season.

"He has been throwing a lot of quality strikes," expressed Wetherell's pitching coach. "Phil is a much better pitcher than last year.

"He has a better quality in strikes and he works at the bottom of the zone more," continued Borrell. "His slider has been very good ever since they put the curveball in his back pocket, it really compliments Phil's fastball."

Borrell recognizes that Wetherell's fastball velocity is not where he wants it to be. But he knows that Wetherell is working hard to get it back into the 93-97 mph range.

"He needs to maintain his velocity and he hasn't had the highest top end," commented Borrell. "Phil has been 93-95 since he has been here and hasn't really hit the high numbers.

"Spring Training took a little toll on his arm," Borrell said. "But he continues to work hard with the trainers and he will only get stronger everyday."

The RiverDogs first year manager Al Pedrique has positive impressions of Wetherell so far this season. Pedrique knows what his pitcher needs to work on to earn him the starting spot with the team.

"He needs to work on keeping the ball down," remarked Pedrique. "Phil works very hard and always wants to get better, but he needs to work on his release point with his slider.

"Lately he has been using the split-finger, which has been very effective this season for him."

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