July 7, 2022

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Gallen discusses his impressive start to '22

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This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert’s D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Zac Gallen was outstanding against the Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon and is off to a good start this year. I recently sat down with him to ask about last season vs. this season. Here are some of the key takeaways:

1. New pitching coach Brent Strom has done a nice job of blending old vs. new-school methods in working with the pitchers this year.

“Strom has been great. He brings a lot of knowledge from all his different stops across baseball and different eras, like the old-school stuff and all the new numbers and analytics. It’s been good to be able to pick his brain a little bit in terms of both of those avenues, because I like to use them both.”

2. One of the biggest issues for Gallen last year was that his injuries prevented him from doing a lot of work between starts, something that is important to him.

“I’m very meticulous about my throwing. So for me to have that be monitored and not necessarily have full rein to go work on things to the extent I want to, it’s a little tough to kind of get the results that you want.”

3. Gallen is constantly working and tinkering in a never-ending quest to get better, and his motivation for that comes from a lot of different places.

“I think [for] one, internally it’s just this — the window to play this game and to maximize your potential is so fleeting and so short. So for me, internally I want to make the most of it while I still have the ability to play. Externally, the motivations come from people who said that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Whether that’s from when I was 5 to 25. Whoever has come out of the woodwork and said it. Do I keep track of it? Yes. Do I reference it all the time? Maybe sometimes.”

4. By always looking to get better, Gallen is also laying the groundwork to hopefully pitch until he’s 40.

“At some point in time, I’m not going to have the same stuff that I did when I was 23, 25, 27, whatever. The velocity will probably go down a little bit and my stuff might be a little different. So I just try to talk to guys who played a long time — [D-backs pitching strategist] Dan Haren is a big one that I talk to about later on in a career adding some stuff, taking stuff away, learning how to use different pitches. It’s like every few years, you kind of got to reinvent yourself a little bit.”

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