Niemann tops out at 88 mph, says all is fine
Rays RHP Jeff Niemann didn't clock higher than 88 mph on the stadium radar gun during today's 4 1/3 inning outing vs. the Orioles, but said afterward he was working more on movement than velocity and there was no cause for concern.
Niemann, who typically tops out at 90-91, was in the 85-86 range during much of his 71-pitch outing but said he was working on cutters and two-seamers.
"I think the gun's a little off,'' Niemann said. "We're definitely going more movement right now, we're able to execute and get those bad swings and get those weak hit balls. For me, it's more important what the hitter's telling me than what the radar gun says.''
Manager Joe Maddon saw the diminished velocity but also said there was no cause for concern, noting there was "wincing" or any signs of injury from Niemann.
"He got sharper as game was in progress. His velocity came up to 87-88 on occasion but definitely had good movement, '' Maddon said. "He was fine. There were no issues. Velocity started out low, you're right. but the movement was good. He was not wincing, there were no issues. He just did not have that normal velocity. As long as he's well I'm sure that's going to show up. The thing that I liked was the fact that the ball continues to move so much.''
Maddon said there are no plans to have Niemann checked out.