Javier Vazquez is worried about his declining fastball velocity

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Last week Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland talked about Javier Vazquez dealing with a “dead arm” period and after serving up a homer on an 85-mph fastball last night Vazquez expanded on his lack of velocity:

I reach back, and I see 88. The fastball is not there. I don’t have any zip on it. I don’t have any life on the fastball. I get a lot of swings and misses on my fastball. But all the swings and misses I’m getting are on my changeups and curveballs, not on my fastball. I’ve got a lot of innings in my arm. Maybe it’s catching up to me.

I’ve seen it before. I just don’t expect it to come from me, I guess. I didn’t expect it to happen to me. I’ve always done my work. I worked hard in the offseason, during the season between starts. You think you’ll be able to throw the same thing you’ve been throwing your whole career. I hope it comes back. If not, I’ve got to do a better job locating.

Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger put together a handy chart showing Vazquez’s month-by-month average fastball velocity dating back to April of 2008 and during that time he’s gradually gone from throwing in the low-90s to throwing in the high-80s.

According to Pitch-f/x he averaged between 91.1 and 91.8 miles per hour on his fastball every season from 2005 to 2009, but this year his velocity has dipped to 88.8 mph. Interestingly, the actual effectiveness of his fastball hasn’t really changed and most of Vazquez’s struggles have involved hitters teeing off on his slider.

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”