Reed getting comfortable with slider, changeup

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A torrential downpour canceled Friday's Padres-White Sox contest after three innings and prevented Addison Reed from working the fourth.

If Reed did get to make his fourth Cactus League appearance, it's a safe bet the closer would have been focused on fastball command and offspeed pitches. Those are the pitching basics Reed will work on until the last days of his baseball career.

Reed also realizes that in order to make him as effective as possible in the ninth inning during 2013, he has to have full trust in his slider and changeup. Although his fastball averaged 94.6 mph last year according to FanGraphs.com, he can't rely on that pitch to blow away the opposition like his friend and teammate Nate Jones.

"I mean, Nate throws 108 mph on every pitch," said a smiling Reed of Jones, who averaged 97.6 mph on his fastball. "But yeah, it's good to have that second pitch, no matter how hard you throw. The more pitches I have, the better off I'm going to be and more comfortable I am and being able to throw them for strikes, it will be beneficial for me.

"I'm throwing my slider a bunch and feeling more and more comfortable every time I throw it. Same with the changeup. I threw it a handful of times the first few outings. Just going out there is the only thing to get me more comfortable with it."

After converting 29 of 33 save opportunities and setting a single-season rookie franchise record with those 29 saves, Reed feels more at ease as the closer in 2013.

"I'm looking forward to it," Reed said. "I think that first year under my belt is huge. Now I'm comfortable and I kind of know what to expect. I know what it takes to stay healthy for a full season."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.