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Shaved head and strikes should get Pelfrey back

Starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey reacts in the dugout

Starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey reacts in the dugout after being removed from the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (July 19, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

PHOENIX - Step one of Mike Pelfrey's makeover began Tuesday with him getting his head shaved by strength and conditioning coach Rick Slate.

Chances are his hairstyle had very little to do with the fact that Pelfrey had the worst start of his career in Monday's 13-2 loss. But it was important to note Pelfrey was upbeat about his chances to turn around his tailspin.

Manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen drilled it into his head Monday the need to establish his fastball. To further the point, Pelfrey watched videos from six of his starts - some good, some bad.

"It should be an easy fix," Pelfrey said. "I just haven't been throwing quality strikes. I have to get back to that."

Or else. Pelfrey is 0-3 in his last four starts with a 12.89 ERA. He's allowed 40 hits and 10 walks in 142/3 innings. Manuel is optimistic, however, the message will get through. "I'm anxiously looking forward to the next outing for him," Manuel said. "I think with all the conversations we've had with Mike, I think he's looking forward to it, too. So hopefully, we can see a difference there."

 

Beltran adjusting to CF

Just five games into his comeback, Carlos Beltran is still getting used to centerfield again. At times, Beltran has looked hesitant on some balls, but he's not concerned - and Manuel has no plans to play him anywhere but center, even if Angel Pagan can cover more ground.

"I think that he's run OK for me," Manuel said. "When he hit that triple, he legged it out pretty good. There were a couple balls in San Francisco that either got in the sun or did something that he didn't get to, but he ran after them really good, so I don't think the knee itself is an issue in that. I just think it's a matter of getting used to the major-league hitters and these different parks. That's the situation he's at now."

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