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Alburquerque showing improved command

Alburquerque showing improved command

Alburquerque showing improved command

DETROIT -- Al Alburquerque has been hesitant to talk about his pitching lately. He's been through too many stretches where he has felt like he has his command down, only to fall into a bout of struggles.

After two scoreless innings Saturday night, Alburquerque felt comfortable saying he feels better on the mound. More importantly, so did his manager.

"He's been better," Jim Leyland said Sunday morning. "He's still a little inconsistent on his slider, but he did one heckuva job last night and he is getting better."

The slider has been progressing after Alburquerque made an adjustment. He was throwing it harder for the last month or two, frequently hitting 90-91 mph on the radar gun, but with inconsistent location. He has taken a few miles per hour off of it, but gained some break on it.

The result has been a slider that's tougher to hit. He threw 15 of his 21 sliders for strikes Saturday, according to brooksbaseball.net, and induced five swings and misses.

Alburquerque also credits a better mindset on the mound.

"Throw your pitch. Make your pitch," he said Sunday. "Don't worry about nothing. Don't think too much."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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