View Count: 295 |  Publish Date: April 06, 2014
For Romo, confidence in changeup builds

Los Angeles -- - Those who watched Sergio Romo early in spring training must have wondered why he kept throwing changeups and getting his teeth kicked in while keeping his signature pitch, the slider, in storage.
The answer can be found in the left-right splits. In 2012, when he became the closer for the World Series championship team, he fared better against left-handers, although he did not face many as a setup man the first half of the season.
Last year, when he was a full-time closer and had to face more left-handed hitters, especially pinch-hitters in the ninth inning, they hit him hard (a .279 batting average and .745 OPS, compared with .229/.511 against right-handers).
To adjust, Romo came to spring training determined to improve the changeup, a better pitch against left-handers than sliders, which run in toward the hitter.
Its not the best, Romo admitted after earning his second save in Arizona on Wednesday. It could possibly be better, but Im going to keep working on it, and I do have the same amount of confidence in that pitch now as I do in any other ones.
I knew I was going to get hit in the spring. Im not known for being that type of guy throwing that particular pitch, so I knew there were going to be growing pains. So I came in confident if I just continue to work on it and stick with it, stay consistent with trying to improve that particular area, I knew Id get it.
Still, manager Bruce Bochy has said he will use left-hander Javier Lopez situationally in the ninth inning, as he did in Thursdays win against the Diamondbacks. Had lefty hitters Eric Chavez and Gerardo Parra gotten on base with two outs, Romo would have entered to face a string of four righties that followed.
Romos first attempt to retire a lefty resulted in a Miguel Montero homer on Opening Night. But he struck out Chavez later in the inning with a changeup.
at Dodgers
5:05 p.m. ESPN2
Cain (0-0) vs. Greinke (1-0)
vs. Diamondbacks
1:35 p.m. CSNBA
Cahill (0-2) vs. Hudson (1-0)
No DPs: The Giants entered Saturday as one of three teams that had not hit into a double play. The others were the Cardinals and Marlins. In the first inning Saturday, Hunter Pence hit into the teams first.
- Henry Schulman
Henry Schulman is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: hschulman@sfchronicle. Twitter: @hankschulman

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Time: 4:47  |  News Code: 395801  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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