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Bullpen hopeful Partch tinkering with mechanics

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Trying to make the roster in Cincinnati's bullpen this spring, right-handed reliever Curtis Partch has been tinkering with his mechanics. Pitching coach Jeff Pico and bullpen coach Mack Jenkins have noticed Partch had the tendency to fly open up during his delivery.

In his second outing of the spring Sunday against the Padres, Partch delivered a perfect inning.

"I've been working on some things with Jeff and Mack with keeping my right side closed a little longer," Partch said Monday. "Besides one or two pitches, I felt like I was more in line. I could tell my pitches were a lot better. My fastball had better command. I'll keep trying to get better and be more consistent."

Partch, 27, began the 2013 season at Double-A Pensacola, but made 14 appearances over two big league stints with the Reds. He was 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA and had 17 walks with 16 strikeouts over 23 1/3 innings. Although he struggled at times, he had a couple of good outings -- including four scoreless innings vs. the Cubs in a June 13 defeat.

"Right now he's a guy who is challenging to help us more in the middle," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "His stuff plays more like a back end of the bullpen guy because he's got size, he's got velocity, his breaking ball is getting better and he's developed a really nice changeup.

"Consistency is really going to dictate what kind of career he has. He has the stuff. Now it's making consistently good pitches. He could end up being a good one."

The Reds are already deep in the bullpen, but Partch could pitch himself on to the staff, especially if relievers Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall aren't ready to begin the season on time. Broxton is still rehabbing from August forearm surgery and Marshall has had a sore shoulder.

"I feel like my stuff is good enough to where if it's doing what it's supposed to, it should take care of itself," Partch said. "I can't really be out there thinking I have to be perfect to make the team. If I don't, it's not the end of the world. I'm sure if something happens, they'll need me. I just have to show them they can rely on me and be ready when they need me. It's all you can do."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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