Fiers working to improve two-seamer

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mike Fiers has a clear goal for this season -- 200 innings -- and a new pitch he hopes helps him get there.

The right-handed Brewers starter is trying to incorporate a two-seam, sinking fastball this spring, another weapon to go inside on right-handed hitters and tail away from left-handed hitters. It would be a complement to Fiers' fastball/curveball/changeup/cutter repertoire.

"I think every year I try throwing a new pitch," Fiers said. "I didn't throw a two-seamer all year last year."

He threw a handful of sinkers against the Mariners on Wednesday, but backed off because he was struggling to locate the pitch. Fiers allowed two runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings.

In three Cactus League starts, Fiers has a 3.24 ERA. He is bidding for one of the openings in Milwaukee's starting rotation and has last year's success on his side. Fiers had a 2.88 ERA in his first 16 starts following a promotion from Triple-A before fading to the tune of a 7.09 ERA in his final six starts.

"I want to get there [to 200 innings]," Fiers said. "I feel like I can get there and still be strong. Last year, everyone was talking about how I fell off in September, but I felt like my best start was actually my last start. I had a couple of rough ones in September, and I just wasn't as consistent. It's not that I was tired, I don't think."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.