Adam Ottavino intends to no longer play taps.
When the Yankee reliever makes his spring debut Saturday against the Tigers, Ottavino plans to do so without his familiar small punch back into his glove just before he breaks his hands in his delivery. The modification, Ottavino hopes, will lead to better control, but particularly a quicker delivery to try to better thwart running games.
“I was just so sick of my glove tap and I had to break this habit,” Ottavino said.
Ottavino, as an amateur starter, used a full overhead windup and no tap. But once in the Cardinals organization after being drafted, they wanted that delivery eliminated and to have him begin with his hands at his belt. He began to emulate another big righty, former Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, who had a glove tap.
Initially, Ottavino would eliminate the tap with a runner on first to better hold runners, but it became “ingrained” to do that movement all the time and Ottavino began using the tap whenever he threw, even when he was playing catch.
Ottavino had a strong first year as a Yankee, but a terrible postseason. Even within the strong regular season, though. Ottavino walked 14.1 percent of…