Mota not fazed by return to New York
Reliever brings fresh outlook back with him to Shea Stadium
NEW YORK -- He was booed out of New York, but Guillermo Mota was itching to get back on the mound at Shea Stadium this weekend.Mota was traded from the Mets to the Brewers in November in a swap of players who were essentially no longer wanted. After serving a 50-game drug suspension to begin last season, Mota posted a 5.76 ERA in 52 appearances for the Mets, and every time he trotted in from the bullpen at Shea, New Yorkers let him have it. "But then, the moment you come in and go 1-2-3, who cares?" Mota said Saturday in the visitor's clubhouse. "That's baseball in New York. I'm used to this." Entering play Saturday, he had pitched three times for the Brewers and allowed one run. In Spring Training, he made a team-high 11 appearances with a 1.46 ERA. Much of the credit for Mota's resurgence goes to Brewers bullpen coach Bill Castro, a fellow Dominican who compared video of Mota's glory years with the Dodgers to games he pitched for the Mets. Castro noticed that Mota was not standing as tall on the mound as he used to, resulting in flatter pitches. Mota said he started pitching that way after Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson instructed him to hold his hands lower in his set-up. "He was pitching like he was a 5-foot-tall guy," Castro said of the 6-foot-6 right-hander. "He was hunched over. Everything was going side-to-side. You have to take advantage of his height." Mota was shocked when Castro showed him the difference. He quickly made the adjustment. "I feel more powerful," Mota said. Since David Riske and Salomon Torres pitched two innings apiece in Friday's series-opening loss, the odds were good that Mota would pitch against his former club over the weekend. Though Mota was guaranteed a rude awakening from the Mets faithful, Castro said the Brewers would not hesitate to use him. "[The fan reception] doesn't matter," Castro said. "I think he's ready for anything. He has enough confidence now that he can go out there no matter what they say or do."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.