Blue Jays Scott Diamond working to re-awaken his curveball


Blue Jays left-hander Scott Diamond is looking to recapture the curvaball that gave him success earlier in his career and surprise at spring training

In 2012 with the Minnesota Twins, 25-year-old Canadian lefty Scott Diamond looked to be establishing himself as a reliable starter.

Over 173.0 innings he managed to work a 12-9 record along with a 3.54 ERA and 2.2 WAR. His below-average strikeout tool soon caught up to him, though, and Diamond has spent the last two seasons at the triple-A level trying to claw his way back.

More from Jays Journal

As he tells Greg Mercer of Sportsnet, Diamond is working hard to get his curveball back, which was his strongest pitch during his 2012 success. Working hand-in-hand with his high-80s fastball, Diamond threw the low-80s curveball nearly 30% of the time.

“At this point, it seems like I’m probably going to be starting in Buffalo, but a need might arise out of camp,” he tells Mercer. “I’d do anything to pitch in the big leagues again. It’s not like I’d be alien to pitching out of the bullpen. I’m not afraid of it.”

Diamond adds that he’s been working to bulk up this offseason and tinker with his release, but notes that he’s learned the right times to ease off the gas.

“My approach when I was younger was to just go 100 per cent, and work as hard as I could. But I’ve learned if I slow it down, and if I hold back on the reins a bit, I’ve actually made way more strides.”

While Andrew Tinnish reportedly told Diamond that he is likely to begin the season at triple-A Buffalo as part of the Bisons rotation, he also told him that opportunity could present itself in the Blue Jays bullpen. This could prove difficult, though, as he may have competition both as a lefty and a long man.

More blue jays: The 5 best Blue Jays player names of all time

Perhaps his lefty status won’t help at all, though, given that Diamond has reverse splits at the Major League level with an opponent left-hand OPS of .859. Given that the long man role could go to Jesse Chavez, Drew Hutchison, Roberto Hernandez, Joe Biagini or several others, he’ll have some hurdles to clear.

The 2015 season spoiled the Blue Jays in terms of rotation health, though, and it’s entirely possible that the organization will need to dig deeper (or more frequently) into their minor league ranks this coming year.

If Diamond is able to produce some improved batter imbalance or swing-and-misses with this curveball, it should give him a more legitimate value as the Blue Jays seventh or eighth starter.