Athletics

What Romo taught A's Bassitt about his famous slider grip

Athletics

A's starter Chris Bassitt’s long, slow curveball makes its presence known. The way he’s able to shave 15-plus mph off his fastball makes it lethal to batters. He’s also trying to work on another secondary pitch: a slider with the help of Sergio Romo. 

“We’re adding basically a slider that I’m trying to basically throw like [Jake] Diekman -- we’ve been working on a slider for me for years, I just haven’t really figured anything out of how to throw it that well,” Bassitt said on Wednesday after throwing three innings in the 9-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. “And then I got Romo’s pitch grip and I’ve been blowing Diekman up even off the field, like, ‘Hey how do you throw this pitch?’ Because I got to figure it out.”

Bassitt said he’s also trying to implement Diekman’s thought process. That means a lot of text messages off the field. He even said he worried he was getting on Diekman’s nerves with all the questions. 

“Then me and [A’s pitching coach Scott Emerson] have just kind of been going to work at it more and more," Bassitt said. "It’s definitely a pitch in progress, but I really like it.”

How exactly did Romo approach Bassitt about this pitch? 

“He saw me struggling in the backfields, getting mad with the slider, and he just kind of showed me his pitch grip and I was like ‘Dang this is funky, but I really like it,' and it’s kind of just blossomed from there.”

 

Romo threw his slider 64.6 percent of the time last season and has been able to use the pitch to manipulate hitters from both sides of the plate. He can execute different variations of it.

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Appears Romo is the right guy to learn from. 

Bassitt became the A’s most dependable pitcher in 2020. He boasted a 2.29 ERA with 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He looks to be once again an integral part of the A’s pitching staff in 2021.