Eovaldi works on curve, changeup in simulated game

Eovaldi works on curve, changeup in simulated game

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi used Tuesday's simulated game on a back field at Roger Dean Stadium to change things up a bit.

In four innings during an intrasquad scrimmage, Eovaldi threw 60 pitches before calling it a day. He estimates almost half of them were offspeed, with an emphasis on his curveball and changeup.

"I'm really trying to work on those two," Eovaldi said. "I'm trying to get a feel for those two. I threw the changeup really well today. It was just a good opportunity to work on it."

Projected as the Marlins' No. 2 starter, Eovaldi has an overpowering fastball that he used 70 percent of the time a year ago.

Already in Spring Training, Eovaldi's fastball has ranged between 97-101 mph, making him the hardest-throwing starter in camp.

To reach another level, Eovaldi is looking to be a more balanced pitcher, and not rely so heavily on his fastball. He also throws a slider, which he got a strikeout on Tuesday.

The benefit of pitching in a simulated game, mostly against Marlins' Minor Leaguers, Eovaldi had a chance to experiment. In a Grapefruit League game against big leaguers, there is more adrenaline and it isn't the time to tinker.

"It's nice, you get to come out here and work on certain pitches," Eovaldi said. "When you are facing guys you're going to be facing during the season, you're going to be giving it everything you've got. Out here, you get to work on back-to-back changeups. I haven't really thrown too many of those. I'd throw sliders in fastball counts."

Eovaldi's next start will be on Sunday against the Yankees in Panama.

Also on Tuesday, first baseman Garrett Jones used the simulated game to get about a handful of extra at-bats. Jones led off several innings, and he had a single off Eovaldi.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter