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Kranitz garners thanks from Maddux


ST. PETERSBURG -- -- Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz was honored to hear that his name was part of Greg Maddux's Hall of Fame induction speech on Sunday. Maddux thanked Kranitz for helping him develop a changeup.

"It's nice that he took the time to mention that, because it happened so long ago," Kranitz said. "Every time I've seen him, he would always mention something. It's nice to know you helped somebody along the way."

Both were rookies when they met, Kranitz in his first coaching assignment at Pikeville in the Rookie Appalachian League, and Maddux an 18-year-old who had just been drafted by the Cubs in the second round.

Personality-wise, Maddux was the same prankster he is today, Kranitz said. In terms of pitching, he was much different.

"He threw very hard," Kranitz said. "We didn't use radar guns back then, but it was hard. It was four-seam and a nasty curveball, and he just threw balls by guys -- until he got tired. Then, when he got tired, that's when he would start giving up some hits. But he was always very competitive."

The changeup became a big pitch for Maddux. From 2002 through the end of his career, he threw it more than 23 percent of the time.

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.

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