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Capps learning not to rely so much on heater

Capps learning not to rely so much on heater

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Capps learning not to rely so much on heater
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-handed reliever Carter Capps is undergoing a steep learning curve in the Majors, but manager Eric Wedge would like him to throw a few more curves of his own to go along with the upper-90s fastball that figures as his calling card.

Capps, 22, made his seventh appearance on Wednesday and equaled his longest outing yet with two innings of work in relief of Jason Vargas. But 36 of his 39 pitches were fastballs and the Twins timed him up well enough to rack up three runs on four hits in his final inning as his ERA ballooned to 5.87.

"It should have been a good experience for him," said Wedge. "He was able to throw 35-40 pitches, but he has to use all his pitches. That was just way too many fastballs. He has a great fastball, but up here these big league hitters, it doesn't matter how hard you throw, they can turn it around."

Capps came in with one on and two out in the fifth and got Trevor Plouffe to line out to short, though it took him nine pitches. Two of those were curves, which Plouffe fouled off.

The hard-throwing right-hander needed just six pitches to retire the side in the sixth, all fastballs in the 98-mph range. But things got difficult after that.

He fired eight straight heaters at Joe Mauer leading off the seventh, including one that hit 100 mph, with the Twins catcher fighting him off and finally turning around a 98-mph offering and tripling over the head of Chone Figgins in center.

Capps used just one curveball the rest of the inning, with Josh Willingham driving it for a sacrifice fly to score Mauer, and then threw nothing but fastballs with his final 14 pitches -- giving up three hits to the next four batters -- before Wedge brought in Lucas Luetge.

"He's got a good breaking ball and a changeup he can utilize, especially to left-handers," Wedge said. "So hopefully he learned something."

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