Tanner Scheppers looks to change it up

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tanner Scheppers wants to do a better job of keeping hitters off balance. The best way to do that? Mess with their timing.

So the 26-year-old is coming to spring training committed to throwing his changeup more.

"I threw it probably five times last year total," Scheppers said. "I want to throw it to both righties and lefties to mix things up."

He's more comfortable with his four-seamer, two-seamer, slider and curve. But if Scheppers can incorporate a change-of-pace changeup, he thinks he can be even more successful.

"It's something that as a younger player you don't have a lot of experience with it, and spring is great chance to throw that in games and see what you get from that," Scheppers said. "Once the season comes around, you're going to go with your best stuff and what makes you comfortable. That's hard for me because I haven't thrown the changeup much, but I think it would help me in the long run."

Scheppers is one of the candidates for the bullpen, which is wide open at this point. Manager Ron Washington said Monday that Joe Nathan and Jason Frasor are the only locks.

"There's definitely opportunity," said Scheppers, who was 1-1 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 1/3 innings in the big leagues last year. "I see myself coming in healthy and strong and I'll let every thing else take care of itself."