Austin Kirk’s new arm motion creates some “funk”

Austin Kirk’s arm motion above will not be the one he features the next time he takes the mound. He’ll debut a new three-quarters arm slot. (Photo courtesy: The Chattanoogan).

By: Matthew Osborne

The next time Smokies pitcher Austin Kirk takes the mound – whenever that may be – he will have a different look to his game.

A new arm slot to be exact.

The left-handed pitcher has not pitched since July 25th in Huntsville and was placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort shortly thereafter.  Since he began rehabbing the injury, the Cubs organization approached Kirk with the possibility of throwing from a three-quarters slot rather than his overhand slot.

“So far, it’s really working well. I’m working with (pitching coach Jeff Fassero) a lot on it,” Kirk said about his new motion. “I’m able to throw with hitters and catchers and I talk to them all the time. Just continuing improving because I like how it’s turning out.”

Kirk’s teammates are also taking notice of the Owasso, Okla. native’s new motion. The Southpaw has thrown two live batting practices, impressing Smokies’ manager Buddy Bailey along the way.

“He’s picked up a lot of movement on his ball,” Bailey said. “And the hitters are talking about it too. Lower angle and what he’s got is creating a lot of sink and some funkiness to his pitches. And that’s what he needs. The hitters are making comments about it so that’s a good sign for him that it’s a lot different and better quality coming out.”

While others have noticed his “funkiness”, Kirk still has aspects to work on. One of the major aspects is being able to throw to spots.

“The biggest adjustment is being able to locate the ball again,” Kirk said. “Just from a little different arm slot, it’s just a little tougher to do. It’s starting to come around and it’s helping my breaking ball a lot now. I’m excited to see how it turns out.”

Kirk’s return to the Smokies rotation likely will not happen this season. As the team looks to settle their rotation before next week’s North Division Championship Series against Birmingham, Kirk does not seem to be in Bailey’s plans.

The skipper cited a lack of game experience for the past month as a main reason for Kirk  not joining the rotation, but he did not fully rule the prospect of Kirk pitching at some point. If injuries arise during this week’s Chattanooga series, the lefty could return.

To stay current with all the latest news, follow Smokies on Radio on Twitterand like the Smokies on Radio Facebook page. Matthew Osborne is a beat writer for the Smokies Radio Network. You can follow Matthew on Twitter here: @themindoftheoz

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Categories: 2013 Smokies Feature

Author:Matthew Osborne


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