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Maness searching for mechanical return to top form

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PITTSBURGH -- A day after he allowed four hits and one run in a rocky season debut, Cardinals reliever Seth Maness said he identified "something just a little bit off with the mechanics" of his delivery. An adjustment, he said, should help as he searches for the feel of his sinker, the pitch Maness is most reliant on.

The young right-hander had some troubles getting in sync this spring and left Florida having allowed 11 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings, allowing two or more runs in an appearance four different times. Though the hits got through then and continued to do so on Friday, Maness said he was encouraged by the fact that several were on ground balls.

The first hit off Maness likely wouldn't have been one had the infield not been pulled in. Russell Martin's RBI single in the seventh off Maness on Friday was also a ground ball that squirted through the infield. In between, Maness hit a batter and allowed two line drive hits.

It had been eight days since he last pitched.

"The challenge, I'd say, was more mentally being able to come out there and be sharp," Maness said. "But you're always ready to go. You just have to be ready for everything."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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