Boggs utilized the changeup fairly frequently this spring with the intention of then leaning on the pitch more heavily during the regular season. According to fangraphs.com, only 1.3 percent of the pitches Boggs threw last year were changeups. That represented a sharp decrease from Boggs' days as a starting pitcher.
In his 22-pitch season debut on Friday, Boggs didn't abandon the changeup. In fact, he threw two consecutively to the first batter he faced. The second induced a forceout.
Would he have thrown a pair of changeups in the same situation last season?
"I probably wouldn't have even thought about it," Boggs answered. "I would have gone to my breaking ball or tried to get him out with a sinker. It is good for me to have another weapon, and I certainly have seen the benefits of it. That just reinforces that it can be a big-time pitch for me."
The changeup Boggs is now utilizing is a slightly different version of the pitch he has thrown in the past. Taking a suggestion from right-hander Adam Wainwright, Boggs changed his grip early in camp. He described the new pitch as having "more depth" than his old changeup.
Though he'll still rely predominantly on his sinker, Boggs also plans to incorporate more sliders. He threw four on Friday, three of which were strikes. Boggs' hesitancy to go to the pitch more often in the past has often been because he lacked the ability to control it well enough.
In his two-inning appearance against the Brewers, Boggs struck out two and allowed only one runner to reach base.
"I think Spring Training and [Friday] showed that just keeping them off my fastball as much as I can is going to benefit me," Boggs said. "The sinker is a pitch I can certainly compete with, but it's not the only pitch I want to compete with. I want it to be as good as it can possibly be, and I think using my other two pitches only makes my sinker that much better."