DUNEDIN, Fla. — It’s the mysterious case of the missing miles.
Brett Cecil was on the hill to make the start for the Jays in Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Braves and just like in his previous four starts, he found his fastball wasn’t up to snuff.
Instead of humming his two-seamer or four-seamer in at 92-93 m.p.h., Cecil was only able to hump it up to 86-87.
His frustration has clearly hit a boiling point.
“I’m trying to figure out why the velocity is not there right now,” said Cecil, who last year in his first full season in the rotation was 15-7 in 28 starts. “Nothing hurts, everything’s fine, every other pitch is working great. It just makes it a little different when you’re throwing 87. You throw a high fastball and instead of being 93 and swing and miss or being late, anybody in the league can jump on 87.
“The most frustrating part is when you know something is wrong and you can’t figure out why. Throwing 86, 87 is still good speed but it’s just not me. Maybe it’s just as simple as I’m trying to throw too hard, gripping the ball too tight.”
Manager John Farrell said the Jays at this point aren’t concerned, even though Cecil looks like his head is about to come to a point.
“Pitchers will take different paths in terms of gaining their velocity. It’s not uncommon for some guys to get it towards the latter part of April,” Farrell said. “The fact remains that he has weapons to pitch effectively even if his velocity isn’t where it will be, say at mid-season form.
“I’m certainly not alarmed by it. I feel in time he’ll gain that arm strength that he’s accustomed to having.”
As for Cecil, that day can’t come soon enough.