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.

"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 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.