Dodgers News: Yency Almonte Comfortable With Transition From Four-Seam Fastball To Sinker

Prior to their series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers called up Yency Almonte and optioned Ryan Pepiot to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Almonte entered for his Dodgers debut in the seventh inning and proceeded to retire all six batters faced on the night. Included in that was striking out the side in the eighth.

“I felt pretty good,” Almonte said after the Dodgers’ 9-7 loss. “I was throwing a lot of strikes, which is what I came here to do.”

Almonte only threw sinkers and sliders in his Dodgers debut and has essentially ditched his four-seam fastball.

“It’s a better pitch profile because my four-seam didn’t play as well; only the velo,” Almonte explained of the sinker. “So having the movement was way better for me.”

Almonte went 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and .211 opponents’ batting average over 11 appearances with OKC this season. Most of his outings came in high-leverage situations, and he tried to keep that same mindset despite entering with the Dodgers trailing by four runs.

“In Triple-A, I was throwing in the back of the bullpen and coming in with a lead,” Almonte said. “We were down tonight, so I just tried to keep that mindset of keep attacking hitters. I told myself knowing this lineup, it’s never too far.”

Almonte’s journey to Dodgers

The Dodgers signed Almonte to a Minor League contract during Spring Training. He allowed five hits and had seven strikeouts over seven scoreless innings across six exhibition appearances.

The right-hander was selected by the L.A. Angels in the 17th round of the 2012 MLB Draft and traded to the Chicago White Sox in February 2015 to complete a deal from the prior August. The White Sox then traded Almonte to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Tommy Kahnle, who of course is now part of the Dodgers bullpen as well.

Almonte made his MLB debut with the Rockies in 2018, though only appeared in 14 games. He struggled the following year before bouncing back in 2020 by going 3-0 with one save and a 2.93 ERA over 24 games.

Overall in his Major League career thus far, the 27-year-old is 4-4 with a 5.21 ERA, 4.74 FIP and 1.42 WHIP across 115 relief appearances.

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