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Need for speed: Glasnow alters delivery, hits 100

Bucs catcher Stallings says 'it's as good as I've seen him, probably ever'
MLB.com @adamdberry

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Squatting in the visitors' bullpen Sunday afternoon, Jacob Stallings noticed there was a little extra zip on Tyler Glasnow's fastball. He didn't know just how much, however, until he looked up at the Joker Marchant Stadium scoreboard following Glasnow's first pitch to Leonys Martin. Stallings saw it in the bottom-right corner: 100 mph.

"I guess I was right," the catcher quipped.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Squatting in the visitors' bullpen Sunday afternoon, Jacob Stallings noticed there was a little extra zip on Tyler Glasnow's fastball. He didn't know just how much, however, until he looked up at the Joker Marchant Stadium scoreboard following Glasnow's first pitch to Leonys Martin. Stallings saw it in the bottom-right corner: 100 mph.

"I guess I was right," the catcher quipped.

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Glasnow made his Spring Training debut and showcased the electric arsenal that too often went missing during his first extended Major League stint. His fastball reached triple digits and sat consistently between 97-98 mph. His curveball looked like a strikeout pitch, especially in the first inning. His changeup was harder than expected, but he was able to throw it for strikes.

Overall, Glasnow allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts, a wild pitch and a hit batter in two innings of the Pirates' 8-8 tie with the Tigers. He threw 22 of his 35 pitches for strikes. But behind the results was an encouraging first step.

"It's as good as I've seen him, probably ever," Stallings said. "Not only was his stuff electric, but he was throwing it all for strikes."

Glasnow was at his best in the first inning. Martin tapped out in front of the plate. Jose Iglesias grounded out to second base. Then Glasnow froze Miguel Cabrera with a 98-mph fastball for a strikeout.

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"When you have Miguel Cabrera a little off-balance, you know you're doing something right," Stallings said.

After a long inning by the Pirates' lineup, Glasnow slowed down in the second. Nicholas Castellanos hit a leadoff homer. Jeimer Candelario blooped a double to left, Glasnow plunked Mikie Mahtook, and a grounder to third scored another run. All told, Stallings figured, Glasnow made two pitches he'd take back: the fastball to Castellanos and the curveball that hit Mahtook.

"I felt good," Glasnow said. "Just glad to go out there, get that game mentality, that game speed."

Speed might be a theme for Glasnow this spring. He felt his delivery was slow early last season, when his fastball averaged 94 mph and he posted a 7.45 ERA in 12 starts before being sent down to Triple-A. Since then, he has focused on being quick and athletic and staying on a straight line toward the plate -- and the high-end stuff that made him a top prospect has returned.

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"When I'm all out of whack and all over the place, it's kind of hard," Glasnow said. "When things aren't going well, a really quick adjustment for me is just move faster, be an athlete and it all kind of syncs up for me.

"That same mentality, that speed, is something I wanted to carry in. That was my main focus, to maintain that and not start to go slow or anything like that."

The Pirates still view Glasnow as a starter, but their rotation depth might push him to the bullpen on Opening Day as it did Trevor Williams a year ago. The suggestion did not seem to bother Glasnow, who found success late last season with a bullpen-driven mindset.

"Last year what I realized in Triple-A is if I just take every inning like a reliever, I'm good to go," Glasnow said. "I just need to take it one step at a time. … I'm kind of just in that mentality right now."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Tyler Glasnow