- Josh Banks, a young right hander recently recalled by San Diego from AAA, spoke to The Capital about his experience with Greg Maddux during a stint in the big leagues last Summer ...
As a 25-year-old former Toronto Bluey Jay, Banks kept to himself in the bullpen and dugout until Greg Maddux - a 355-game winner and Hall of Fame lock - offered him an open seat. The two sat together, played cards on the plane and went to dinner, all the while talking pitching and analyzing every possible scenario.
"He'd always ask me why I'd throw guys certain ways," Banks said. "He said, 'If you throw 95 percent of your pitches down and away, you'll win 15 games a year.' "
Maddux would know better than most. Known for his control and intellect, Maddux collected four consecutive Cy Young Awards, 17 straight 15-win seasons between 1988 and 2004, boasted a 3.16 career ERA and won 18 Gold Gloves.
Banks, who throws between 88-92 mph, developed a changeup and a split-finger fastball to complement his curveball knows better than to overthrow on the mound - thanks, again, to Maddux.
"He always said, 'Never sacrifice location for stuff. I don't care how hard you throw; if you can't locate it, you're not going to win,' " Banks said. "He always said that."I still think that if he wants it, Greg Maddux has a future as a pitching coach.
- Trevor Hoffman, who is pitching like the future Hall of Famer he is for Milwaukee this year, was hoping Greg Maddux would play again this season.
- It seems that every time a pitcher has to rely on movement rather than speed, he's taking a page out of the Greg Maddux playbook. According to Carlos Zambrano, that's what he was doing recently.
I was throwing a lot of split fingers. I saw the speed gun was only 88 mph, and I thought, 'I have to pitch like Maddux and move the ball, and have a Jose Contreras split finger'. I told [Alfonso] Soriano before the game, 'I don't have my explosive fastball, but I have movement, so I'll use that.'