By Steven Ellis former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
If you have pitched long enough, you no doubt will receive a baseball back from a teammate, your catcher or the umpire that will have some sort of scuff on it.
It's usually when a ball that has been fouled off the backstop or a pitch was thrown in the dirt.
If you receive this, consider it a gift, and do not throw this ball out of play! Use it to your advantage when throwing pitches.
Problem is, however, more times than not, most pitchers do not have the knowledge to take advantage of this.
When you receive a scuffed baseball, it is advantageous for throwing all your pitches - your breaking balls and change up, as well as your fastball or cutter.
That's because your fastball will slide all over the place. And your off-speed pitches will break more dramatically (if somewhat unpredictably). You need to know that the ball will move toward the scuff mark, no matter what pitch you throw.
When throwing the fastball, rotate the ball so the scuff is on the left of the ball or to the right. The ball will usually slide to that left or right, where the scuff is. Try both.
With your curveball, you need as much spin resistance as you can against the air. That is why you have four seams biting against the air, rather than two.
Therefore, throw the curve with the scuff in rotation. With the slider rotate the ball so the scuff is on the side of the ball, so when released the scuff will be rotating, similar to the curve.
Just something to think about when throwing pitches!
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