Wilk works on delivery with Mud Hens
JUN 12, 2012 10:09a ET
Wilk, a lefty who was one of the candidates in spring training for the fifth-starter job, has made three starts for the injury-plagued Tigers this season with little success.
In those starts -- against the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners -- Wilk was 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA.
He's been better with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Despite a 2-6 record, Wilk has a 3.34 ERA.
Wilk, 24, took the loss Friday night despite allowing only three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out a season-high nine in his first complete game of the season.
"I definitely think it was a good outing," Wilk said. "I've had a few good ones."
Of his 98 pitches, 75 were strikes.
"I think strike percentage, that's probably the highest," said Wilk, who has allowed seven home runs total in his last five starts. "That's definitely a good way to do it."
Once Wilk returned to the Mud Hens on April 27, he made a change in his delivery.
"We moved him over to the other side of the rubber," Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. "We think that'll help him at the next level, give him a different eye level. It's a different look for hitters. He can reach certain parts of the plate better with his stuff.
"I think he's finally starting to feel comfortable over there."
Friday night was Wilk's eighth start from the third-base side of the rubber. It's not completely unfamiliar to him, but he did have to get used to it because he hasn't pitch that way since high school.
Wilk said the change is mostly visual for him. His new position on the mound has him looking straight in at right-handed hitters now.
"That was the weirdest thing for me, especially the first couple starts," he said. "The release point had to be a little different, stuff like that, but I'm definitely getting more comfortable over there.
"The pitches are coming around, and I'm starting to understand where to put the ball in good spots to get guys out on."
Although it's still a work in progress, Nevin is happy with what he's seen from Wilk.
"I've noticed a big difference," Nevin said. "It creates a different angle. He's able to get that outside corner with right-handers and move the ball in off the plate to back over the plate.
"It's just creating better angles with his stuff."
The way things have gone for the Tigers this season with injuries, Wilk very well could get another chance to see whether the adjustment will help him at the major league level.
For now, he'll continue to work on it during his next start, Thursday night at the Norfolk Tides.