Carr Energized for New Season

Carr feels prepared for a better season

St. Lucie pitcher Nick Carr experienced a tough season in 2008, but dedicated his off-season and Spring Training to redefining and stabilizing his mechanics. Now the hard-throwing right-hander returns to St. Lucie where he is confident and ready that his second shot at the Florida State League will be vastly different from the first.

In 2008, Nick Carr hoped to bring his earlier short-season success to St. Lucie, but things did not work as such as he lost his first eight decisions and ultimately finished the season 2-10 in St. Lucie and 2-12 overall. Carr now returns to St. Lucie with the energy to show his stuff is there and to rebound from a disappointing year.

"Things are going really well. I've been working on a few things to get back on track and I feel like I'm right there. It's been a really good spring. I was working with Coach Valdes on getting my arm into a position where it will be easier for me to throw the ball where I want to," Carr explained.

Arm slot is the most pivotal piece to the right-hander's success. His high leg kick and long extension requires he stay on top of the ball to maximize his pitch movement. Too often last year, his arm slot would drag to the side which caused his pitches to flatten out.

"I was getting off to the side of the ball and when I wasn't staying on top, I was just pushing the ball. With that arm slot, at the side, I didn't get the break that needs so I didn't really have the confidence to throw those pitches," he said.

Staying on top of the ball was a focus going back to last summer when he made significant progress as he finished the season by winning the pitcher of the week award after 12 consecutive scoreless innings. Now Carr enters the season with the same feel for the ball and his mechanics, giving him confidence in his stuff.

"Now that I'm staying on top of the baseball, I feel like I have much better command of my fastball and my slider to both sides of the plate. I'll be able to throw my changeup for strikes and I feel very good ever since I started staying on top of the baseball," he detailed.

"My first spring outing was a little rough, but the coaches took me from there, started changing me and ever since then I've been throwing well," he added.

Given the amount of young talent on the St. Lucie pitching staff in 2009, there was discussion as to how exactly Carr would fit into the rotation or the pitching staff as a whole.

Carr's hard fastball and diving slider would make him a strong candidate for the bullpen, but for now he is in a role that is brewing some competition as he and Eric Niesen piggyback in the rotation.

"We're going to switch on and off starting. I guess it's a matter of how that goes. I could go to the bullpen eventually but it's still up in the air and it hasn't been determined yet what [the organization] wants to do," he said.

"Whether I'm in the bullpen and have to be ready to pitch every day, or in the rotation with a schedule, I just always have to be ready to go at any time so the game doesn't really change."

Carr was hit or miss in his first outing, tossing four innings of two-run ball with four walks, but he is measured in his approach as he just wants to do the right things to get off to a good start and far away from repeating the previous April.

"I'm just looking forward to getting on the mound and my goal is to minimize my walks this year and get guys out with three pitches or less. That's always been my goal, but I feel I'll be able to better accomplish that now that I can throw three pitches for strikes instead of just one," he closed.

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