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Jepsen unveils new changeup in Cactus League debut

Jepsen unveils new changeup in Cactus League debut

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kevin Jepsen spent the offseason trying to re-discover the changeup he utilized when he was a starting pitcher nine years ago, and he threw two of them Saturday in his spring debut against the Mariners.

Both were strikes.

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"I feel just as comfortable throwing my changeup for a strike right now as I do my fastball," Jepsen said.

Jepsen spent most of the winter working with John Ely, the former Dodgers reliever who features a solid changeup. Ely showed him a four-seam grip for the pitch, and Jepsen constantly threw it while playing catch, since throwing a changeup requires the same arm motion as a fastball.

The 29-year-old Jepsen -- out of options for the first time this spring -- features a fastball, curveball and cutter, but wants a pitch that will keep hitters off-balance and not break in to opposing left-handed batters, who posted an .877 OPS against him in 2013.

"The changeup is all deception to hitters," Jepsen said after pitching a 1-2-3 fourth inning in the Angels' 5-3 loss at Peoria Sports Complex. "You're acting. You're trying to get a hitter to think you're throwing a fastball and it's just not there. So, for me, if they swing or not, it's not really a huge deal. I just want to create that deception."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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