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Inspired by Shohei Ohtani, Angels pitcher Tucker Davidson introduces new slider

Tucker Davidson, one of the Angels’ pitchers Phil Nevin said was in the running for the last spot in the rotation, added a sweep slider to his repertoire.

It’s a notable addition that he spent months working on, using a different pitch he saw displayed by one of his MVP teammates.

“I’m using (Shohei Ohtani’s) grip, so hopefully that’ll give me some Shohei takedowns, you know,” Davidson said jokingly.

Davidson showed off this new sweep slider several times during the Angels’ Cactus League opener against the Seattle Mariners, handling a few strike calls and a whiff of air on the field at 80 miles per hour .

When Davidson was traded to the Angels at last year’s deadline, the staff noticed that his slider was starting more in his palm. In order to help him get an extra sweep, the staff wanted him to move his grip on the seams to his fingertips so he could pull the ball more.

“It’s something I had to get comfortable with,” Davidson said after his two perfect innings Saturday. “And then this offseason went well, I know what I’m looking for, that feeling, and then getting that extension and repeating it.”

The sweep slider appears almost like a curveball and with his work at Driveline and guidance from the Angels heading into this season, he feels encouraged by it.

“I watched Shohei throw sliders in the zone,” Davidson said “and guys just rushed at him, kind of like they were waving at him and I’m like, ‘How do you do that?’ And then I watched a ton of his releases this year like, “How do I get guys out?

“I was like, ‘How do you use your cursor, your cursor is so good’…and I just looked at him and I really saw that cursor. I said to myself, “I think I can do this.” »

Angels win spring training opener

Jo Adell, right, celebrates with third base coach Bill Haselman (82) after hitting a two-run home run.Jo Adell, right, celebrates with third base coach Bill Haselman (82) after hitting a two-run home run.

Jo Adell, right, celebrates with third base coach Bill Haselman (82) after hitting a two-run home run for the Angels against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

The Angels took the lead in the Cactus League opener against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex, winning 5-1.

In the second inning, Jo Adell crushed a two-run homer to ignite the Angels.

Adell said he was working with new hitting coach Marcus Thames and assistant hitting coach Phil Plantier on counts and remaining patient in the box.

The match lasted 2 hours 16 minutes thanks to the addition of the shot clock.

No strong emotions

Nevin said he didn’t want to offend former Angels All-Star pitcher Jered Weaver by not inviting him as a guest to spring training this year.

Weaver seemed irritated that he wasn’t invited to the Angels’ spring camp. in a tweet he posted Friday evening.

“No offense to Jered, I love him, he’s a great guy, he was a great Angel,” Nevin said in response. “It’s not something we wouldn’t consider in the future.”

Nevin said that with the exception of Albert Pujols, who works for the Angels as a special assistant to the club, he invited alumni from the 2002 World Series winning team, as well as his former teammates.

This story was originally published in the Los Angeles Times.