Video: Hellickson on Monday's minor league start
Rays righthander Jeremy Hellickson could definitely tell a difference in pitching on the backfields against minor leaguers Monday afternoon.
"They don't let too many fastballs go by," Hellickson said.
Hellickson felt pretty good, though, about his start against the Red Sox' Class-A team, allowing three runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings, striking out five in a 76-pitch outing. He said his fastball command "wasn't too good," but felt his changeup improved and he threw some quality curveballs.
"I'm very happy," Hellickson said. "I feel really good. My stuff feels good. Like I said, I'm still trying to command my fastball."
After four spring appearances, Hellickson still feels like he has some work to do. He's trying to become more consistent with his curveball, which is good at times, but "it seems like every other one bounces 5-10 feet in front of the plate." After allowing the first two hitters to reach base Monday, Hellickson got into a groove in retiring eight straight, before allowing three consecutive hits in the third.
"With two strikes, I'm leaving it over the plate a little bit too much right now - just trying to get it in there," Hellickson said. "Hopefully I fix it here in the next few starts."