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Samardzija spends the spring tweaking his pitch mix: 'The older you get...'

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USATSI

Samardzija spends the spring tweaking his pitch mix: 'The older you get...'

SCOTTSDALE — Jeff Samardzija gave up three homers in the third inning Friday. He shrugged it off. 

Forget about the hot weather and short porch in right field. Spring training is about experimenting for Samardzija, and this spring he’s trying to add two more looks to a pitch mix that already is pretty versatile. Samardzija changed the grip on his curveball to try and give it more spin, and he said he also has added a second, more traditional changeup. 

This is all in addition to the three different types of fastballs he throws — four-seam, two-seam, cutter — the slider, and his splitter, which previously acted as a changeup and now will be more of an out-pitch, he said. 

“The older you get, that’s part of the game that you get to,” Samardzija said. “Warming up in the first inning, you realize what is working that day and you adjust accordingly. Buster (Posey) has always been great with that and keeping pitches out of (that day’s rotation) if he doesn’t like the way it’s going.”

Samardzija said he’ll go into a game with 8-10 variations of pitches depending on grips, but the end goal of most of the tweaks seems to be the same. 

“People are sitting fastball on me,” he said. 

Because so many of Samardzija’s pitches are in a similar velocity range, he sometimes can get hit around a bit. The new curveball is more of a spike curve, and Samardzija said he wants it to look like his four-seam fastball coming out of his hand before dipping. The new changeup felt good Friday, he said. 

"It's something he's played around with in the past and so far it looks good," Posey said. 

--- The wait continues for Bruce Bochy, who had hoped to have his full squad on the field Friday against the Mariners. 

With Posey finally cleared, Bochy had penned a lineup card that included all of the projected opening day starters, but Evan Longoria was a late scratch with left ankle stiffness. He's expected to miss a day or two. 

--- Ryder Jones (hamstring) is expected to return to the field in a couple of days. Hector Sanchez had a setback with his hamstring issue and could be out another week or two.

--- From earlier today, Posey admitted he got a cortisone shot in his left ankle. But he feels good, and the results at the plate look familiar. 

--- Also, a story on why Game 162 was so meaningful to Cory Gearrin last year. 

--- The latest podcast is a conversation with Heliot Ramos and Jacob Gonzalez, the top two picks in last year’s draft. They’ve become close friends and hope to sail through the minors together. You can download it on iTunes here or stream it here.

--- There’s a familiar face in camp this week as a guest instructor. He also visited the minor league camp the other day to speak to prospects. 

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