Zep adjusting to relief role

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:32 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. Marc (Zep) Rzepczynski is fitting into the relief role seamlessly.

Moved out of the rotation into a contender for a spot in the bullpen, Zep has looked sharp in both of his relief outings, allowing no runs over two innings and striking out four.

Although nothing has been announced officially, Zep will open the season with the Jays becasue of both closer Frank Francisco and veteran right-hander Octavio Dotel starting the campaign on the disabled list.

Zep will be one of two left-handers in the bullpen, the other being the inconsistent David Purcey. Not a hard thrower, Zep has a terrific slider that he can use effectively to negate a left-handed hitter.

Im throwing strikes for the most part, pitching backward (throwing breaking balls in fastball counts), just trying to go after them from pitch one, he said about his philosophy as a reliever. I havent had to work too hard yet (in his two relief appearances). Well see what happens if I have to work a long inning and then have to go out the next day. But right now it feels great.

As a starter, Rzepczynski would occasionally get in trouble when he had difficulty locating his sinking fastball. Now, hes being more aggressive knowing hell be brought in as a get-the-lefty-out specialist.

Its definitely go after guys right away from Pitch 1, he said. You do that as a starter too, but for me, now in a transition, its just going after guys, trying to get strike one and then expand (the strike zone) from there.

As a reliever, hes basically a two-pitch pitcher, sinker in to a left-hander and slider away. He also mixes in the odd changeup to keep the hitter off balance and ditches the slider against right-handers.


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