Saberhagen made one other adjustment. He scrapped his slider and went with a fastball-curveball-changeup repertoire because, he says, "In trying to throw both a curve and slider I ended up having two lousy pitches instead of one good one." Says Quirk, "Bret doesn't need four pitches. People don't realize how hard he throws. He used to be around 90. Now he's being clocked at 93. People think of Gubicza or Jackson as power pitchers, but Sabes is easily the hardest thrower on the staff."
Saberhagen's easy motion requires little fine-tuning. "Everything's compact, and my mechanics were always natural," he says. "That is, until last year, when I was hurt. Last year was good for me in a lot of ways. I had a lot of time to think, and most of all I thought about what it takes to stay on top once you're there. I'd been up there, and then I was down there, and at 22 all I had to do was figure out how to get back up again."
He seems to have found the answer.