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Adjustment helps Siegrist's pitching, health

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

NEW YORK -- As Kevin Siegrist showcased in his return to the mound on Monday, the Cardinals reliever utilized his time on the disabled list not only to eradicate the neck pain that had been plaguing him for much of the season, but also to correct his eroding mechanics.

It was during a bullpen session last week that Siegrist realized he was closing off his body and inadvertently dropping his arm while going through his delivery. His suspicions were later confirmed went he went inside to review video.

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NEW YORK -- As Kevin Siegrist showcased in his return to the mound on Monday, the Cardinals reliever utilized his time on the disabled list not only to eradicate the neck pain that had been plaguing him for much of the season, but also to correct his eroding mechanics.

It was during a bullpen session last week that Siegrist realized he was closing off his body and inadvertently dropping his arm while going through his delivery. His suspicions were later confirmed went he went inside to review video.

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"That, to me, put a lot of stress on my arm," Siegrist explained on Tuesday. "It could have been one of the reasons why I started off with shoulder inflammation in Spring Training. Now, I'm working on going more toward the target and moving my landing spot back to where it's supposed to be. That's freed up my arm a lot."

Statcast™ data supports Siegrist's revelation. His average release point has dropped .20 feet since last year, the 29th-biggest drop among the 297 pitchers with a minimum 450 pitches thrown in 2016 and '17.

The work to self-correct began on Monday, when Siegrist made his first appearance since June 22. He struck out the side on 10 pitches before walking the leadoff batter the following inning.

Siegrist wonders, too, if the issues with his mechanics may also explain his velocity drop. While the average velocity of his four-seam fastball has declined steadily since 2013, Siegrist has experienced a particularly precipitous drop this year. His average fastball velocity of 92.1 mph is almost 2 mph slower than it was in 2016.

"Once I get back in sync and more comfortable with what I'm trying to do, then I can kind of speed everything up a little bit," Siegrist said. "I think doing this will gradually make everything more compact, and my arm strength will be able to gradually get back to normal."

The changes may also help Siegrist better maintain his shoulder strength and prevent a recurrence of the cervical spine sprain that landed him on the DL last month.

"I think I was putting so much stress on my arm the first couple months that it just never felt right," Siegrist said. "Even when I felt good, it never felt right. With this adjustment I'm making, it's making it feel a lot better."

Worth noting

Randal Grichuk (lower back strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Wednesday. Grichuk will be eligible to come off the 10-day DL on Thursday.

• Third baseman Jedd Gyorko was named the Cardinals' 2017 Heart and Hustle Award winner by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, which selected a player from each club who demonstrates a passion for baseball and best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of the game.

• The Cardinals announced plans to hold a Fantasy Camp from Sept. 14-17 at Memphis' AutoZone Park, home to the organization's Triple-A affiliate. There are 44 slots available for fans who want to play alongside former Cardinals at the four-day camp. To register or find more information, visit cardinals.com/fantasycamp.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Kevin Siegrist