Joe Boyle

A's pitcher Boyle unveils new sweeper pitch for 2024 MLB season

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Athletics pitcher Joe Boyle has an ace up his sleeve as he attempts to crack Oakland's starting rotation to begin the 2024 MLB season.

Ahead of Saturday's Cactus League opener against the Colorado Rockies, Boyle revealed to's Martín Gallegos that he's added a new breaking ball to his pitch arsenal.

Boyle detailed how this new sweeper will compliment his established stuff, particularly later in games, after a couple of trips through the opposing team's lineup.

"That was the biggest add this offseason," Boyle told Gallegos. "I've gotten better at throwing breaking balls, so it was just a matter of leaning into what I'm already good at and just throwing a different type of breaking ball."

"It's another pitch and just gives hitters another look. It gives me more in the arsenal to use against lefties and stuff like that. Having another pitch makes it more challenging for the hitters to see my stuff, especially later in the ballgame. Third time through the lineup, I think that's going to help a lot."

Boyle hit the ground running in Oakland's spring training opener against Colorado, recording three strikeouts in two innings of scoreless work after getting the start in the A's 5-1 loss to the Rockies on Saturday at Hohokam Stadium.

In addition to his breaking ball, Boyle unveiled a new sweeper in Sunday's outing that he recently added to his mix.

“I threw a couple [of sweepers] today,” Boyle said postgame (h/t “It’s been feeling really good in bullpens and live BPs. It wasn’t great today, but it wasn’t terrible. The shape was what I was looking for. … I have no doubt I’ll be able to mix it in consistently.”

The 23-year-old has shown serious promise after the A's acquired him in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in July 2023, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.69 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 16 innings.

And A's manager Mark Kotsay certainly likes what he sees so far.

“Boyle looked great,” Kotsay said. “He pounded the zone like he did last year in his three starts and mixed pitches. The breaking ball looked good. Fastball had life. He came out of the chute ready to roll.”

With veterans Paul Blackburn, JP Sears, Alex Wood and Ross Stripling on a fast track for the top four rotation spots, Boyle has an opportunity to snag the final spot in Oakland's rotation by building on his exceptional start to the spring.

He isn't taking the opportunity lightly, either.

“Some people use spring training to build up,” Boyle said, "but I’m a firm believer that if you want to do something consistently, you have to practice it. So I throw hard in the offseason. Today, I could tell [the velocity] was there.”

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