"It came out of nowhere," Hagadone said. "That whole season leading up to that injury, my arm felt better than it ever had before."Because he missed so much time in '08 and '09 (he only worked 45 innings last year), Hagadone's workload will be limited this season. "We're not going to overexpose him," Atkins said. "But he'll have plenty of opportunities to develop." Hagadone is still developing that changeup, but his fastball is a dangerous weapon, and his slider is considered above-average. It was Hagadone's Washington teammate, Tim Lincecum, who inspired him to work on that breaking ball. "When I came into college, [my breaking ball] was a 68-mph curveball," Hagadone said. "It was loopy, and you couldn't consider it a pitch for me. Lincecum threw his curveball 85 mph, and it was the dirtiest pitch I'd ever seen. I knew I had to improve my slider if I wanted to be good. I knew I had to throw it harder. I didn't change my grip or anything. Over time, it kept getting harder and harder, and I was able to command it better." Of course, the fastball stands out most to the average eye. Hagadone routinely hits 94 or 95 mph with it, but, when he really reaches back, he can hit 97 or 98. The speed, combined with the ability to throw the hitter off with the breaking ball, helped Hagadone compile a 2.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an average of 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings in his Minor League career. "It gives me a lot of confidence to throw my fastball," he said. "I don't have any doubts when I throw that pitch that anything bad's going to happen. I always have full confidence in it." Because of his stuff, size and skillset, the Indians see a bright future for Hagadone. And considering what the Tribe gave up to get him, Hagadone knows the organization believes in him. "That was an honor to be included in that trade," he said. "I had a great time with the Red Sox while I was there, but, at the same time, I was excited and looking forward to the new opportunity with the Indians.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less