Camp rides new pitch back to Majors
Righty's changeup providing veteran confidence to succeed
TORONTO -- Shawn Camp was sleeping in his hotel room when he heard a knock on his door, early Friday morning. The right-handed reliever, who was in Buffalo with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, was not too happy at first.
"My manager [Doug Davis] knocked on the door," Camp said smiling. "I thought he was room service and told him to go away. But then he announced himself as my manager."
Davis was knocking on Camp's door to tell the 32-year-old pitcher that he was going to be called up to Toronto, where he was expected to join the Blue Jays' bullpen.
The way he's been throwing, it was only a matter of time before Camp made it to Toronto. Developing a new pitch in Spring Training, he enjoyed a great deal of success, posting a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings. He allowed four runs on nine hits, while striking out 12 and walking none.
"I was just basically coming in and throwing strikes in Spring Training," Camp said. "I worked on a third pitch -- a changeup -- this offseason, something I haven't had. I was able to find a little bit of success in that. At the end of the day, I was able to go down and throw well and good things happened."
Armed with the new pitch and an added sense of confidence, Camp was able to carry his success to Syracuse to begin the season. In seven Minor League appearances, Camp was 1-0, tossing 10 scoreless innings. He notched four saves and did not allow a walk while striking out 13. Despite his success, Camp did not expect to be called up to the Blue Jays so soon.
"I didn't," he said. "I've been playing this game a long time. Things happen. The only thing you can do is control what you can, just go down and throw well."
Camp has spent time with Tampa Bay and Kansas City during his four years in the Majors. Over 196 games, he compiled a 5.27 ERA, while striking out 168 and walking 66 over 230 2/3 innings. In 2007 with the Rays, he was 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in 50 games. He's looking to improve on those numbers this time around.
"Find some success," said Camp, when asked what his goals were for this season. "[It's] something that I lacked a little bit last year with Tampa and hopefully things can turn around [for me] in this crazy game."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.