Matt Albers Ready for the Long Haul, Plans to Mix More Pitches

Matt Albers Ready for the Long Haul, Plans to Mix More PitchesFORT MYERS, Fla. –– The grueling stretch of the 2011 season took its toll on Matt Albers.

Through the first four months of the year –– and 35 appearances –– Albers was reliable and effective in the Red Sox bullpen, averaging a 1.96 ERA. His July was especially remarkable, considering he didn't surrender a single run during the month.

But in August, the momentum was halted. During his next 21 appearances to end the season, the reliever would surrender 24 earned runs and six round-trippers, a disparity from his early season success.

To combat that exhaustion down the stretch, Albers made a few tweaks to his offseason regiment.

"Throwing-wise I think I just paced myself a little more instead of throwing a whole bunch more before spring this year," Albers said. "So I cut back a little on my throwing, which I think will help."

The 29-year-old also believes his familiarity with the Red Sox organization should only help him. And Albers also plans to showcase a few more pitches from his arsenal in the upcoming season.

"I think one thing last year at the end, I didn't feel like I lost any stuff," Albers said. "I think the execution wasn't there and so I continued to work on executing pitches. This year, I'm going to throw a changeup and a curveball and mix those back in –– pitches that I've used before, just kind of got away from last year. So I think that'll help as well."

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