Joel Bender pitched a scoreless 10th inning Monday in his new role as setup man to pick up his first win of the year.
Bender was pitching in long relief early in the season for Dayton. He was 0-2 when the organization sent him back to extended spring to work on a change up and his curve.
"We started off a little rusty," Brnder said. "Our whole pitching staff was a little rusty. We're coming together."
The work has paid off.
"Since I've been back, I've been pretty dominant. I'm throwing all my pitches for strikes and my curve ball is really coming around," Bender said.
Bender has the advantage of working with Tony Fossas, who was known for is hard breaking curve ball as a lefthanded specialist. Fossas was released four times in professional baseball in 10 years before he found a role. He is an example to struggling pitchers and is an excellent communicator.
"I am throwing my curve ball as hard as I can. It is my strike out pitch," Bender said. "It is all about learning. I am still throwing the change up a little too hard. It is about 83-84. I want to get it to 81-82. It worked good tonight. I got Drury to pop out with it."
Bender mentioned in Arizona that he needed to work on his fielding.
"This is year I've been better. I'm 3-for-3 covering firstbase," Bender said. "I've had a couple hit back to me. The second game I ever pitched in the pros, I got hit with a ball that was hit at me at 98 mph. It bothered me for about a year. When I pitched I kind of covered and not looked because I was scared."