Qualls fighting stiffness, mechanics

Qualls fighting stiffness, mechanics

PHOENIX -- Chad Qualls is fighting a battle on two fronts at the moment.

First and foremost, the D-backs' closer is trying to work the stiffness that has bothered him for a while now out of his forearm. At the same time, he is trying to iron out some mechanical issues that have caused him to leave pitches up in the zone.

Qualls began feeling stiffness in the forearm during the team's trip to Florida from May 18-21, which included a doubleheader with one game that stretched 13 innings.

The team shut Qualls down for five days, but the stiffness remains.

"It's still there, but when I throw and I warm up and I'm on the mound, I don't feel it," Qualls said. "Am I 100 percent? No. It's not concerning because as long as after I throw it doesn't regress then I'm not too worried about it. It's not something where I'm going to wake up tomorrow and it's going to be 100 percent. I think it's just going to take a couple of weeks to work its way out."

As for the mechanics, Qualls can tell right away when his mechanics are off when he starts leaving the ball up in the zone, never a good sign for a sinkerballer. While he tries to make the correction while he's on the mound, he said it is tough to fix mechanics in the middle of a game.

"I looked at some video [Wednesday] night and basically altered the way I was starting my leg lift," Qualls said. "Instead of lifting my leg straight up, I've kind of been swinging it, which causes me to open my hips up early and drag my arm. I just need to get out there more and throw more and get back to where I was early in the year."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.