Mark Teutsch: Former RHP AAA Chicago White Sox


1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?

 I signed with the Chicago White Sox as a 20 year old but was sent to go play in Mexico. I was told by players 'why are you here?, you should be in A or AA, not Mexico'  Mexico is more of league for guys just released from Spring Training, former big leaguers and here I was getting them out. The scout that signed me had connections with that team and sent me there, I didn't know any better. That off-season I didn't like the way I was looking in the mirror, I was up to 215lbs and out of shape. So I went on what I called the scotch and grapefruit diet. Ended up losing 35lbs but also lost 15mph off my fastball when reported to White Sox Spring Training. Was told by the White Sox we didn't sign you to be soft-tossing RHP, so I had to learn how to pitch. Started fooling around with different arm angles, sidearm then eventually submarine. White Sox owner Bill Veeck took a liking to me, he was a pretty charismatic character and guess I reminded him of Mark Fidrych out there on the mound. Bill asked to throw submarine full time, so I did. I stuck with it and had no strain on the arm from down there. When I played in the Eastern League, I played pretty close to home and friends would come to see me pitch and they couldn't believe it. I wasn't the same flame-thrower that they remembered. Back then relievers would come in for 6-9 outs not just one batter. Guys would be throwing 90mph then I would come in throwing 80mph.


2. What are some of the advantages you had from your arm angle?

Guys just don't see submarine pitching all the time. Big power hitters don't like to hit change ups. I had a pretty good one from down there. One day in Spring Training, we were playing the Pirates and our coach came over and said Kent Tekulve wants to talk to you, so I went over to talk to him. "Hey kid, how do you throw your change-up' I thought I was on a candid camera tv show, here is Kent Tekulve 100+ saves in the MLB asking some young kid with no big league games how to throw a change-up. I honestly didn't know how to explain it, I just threw it and it worked. I didn't walk too many batter which was an advantage for me. Guess I was this long-haired skinny kid that hitters just went up there hacking on me and I would slow them to death. The more tired I was, the more sink I got. I needed to throw everyday. I remember it was a travel day we were flying somewhere, I needed to throw so I grabbed my catcher and we started throwing wiffle balls in the middle of the aisle. That eventually got stopped by the flight attendant but I needed to throw everyday. 


3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success?

No I would have gotten released pretty quick. When I first signed with White Sox before going to Mexico I was 96-97mph they weren't too happy seeing 84-85mph at Spring Training instead. But because I couldn't throw 90mph anymore I learned to pitch with my mind not just my arm. I ended up being an important part of the bullpen because of it. Tony LaRussa was my manager in the minors and was worried about my if I was alcoholic cause of my 'scotch' diet but I would just take a shot of it and it would stop me from eating too much. 

4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?


5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

I would say it's important for your release point to be out in front. Literally in front of you so you can see it, if not it's going to be high. Not many people know this but the rubber is the same width as the home plate, so I would play around with where I needed to stand to get that pitch in or away. Talked to Dan Quisenbarry and he told me don't overthrow when pitching submarine. Hitters would always be taunting me to throw it harder, why would I throw it harder when I know you can hit it 500ft! I remember facing Carl Yaztrzemski and he was laughing at me in on-deck circle while I was warming up and said 'what is this wiffleball?" Then I struck him out with some slow stuff. The last hitter I ever faced in Spring Training was George Brett, threw him a change-up and got him out. While running poles during the game in spring training George said 'nice change up throw a fastball next time' Why would I, so you could take me deep?


6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw sinker, slider and change-up

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Lefties- Change-ups, would come up and in with the slider then go away with the change up,  Righties- Would throw them sinkers, then my slider had some rise to it so would go up and away to them. Basically I was up there on the mound trying to fool you. I was most effective when only one time threw the order would see me. A lot of people think that sidearm/submarine pitchers can't pitch more than one inning cause of the stress it puts on their arm has nothing to do with that, it's that it becomes difficult to fool you the second time around. 

 8. Lastly what was your favorite part about pitching from down there?

I'm getting you out by pitching slower and slower. I actually had different speeds with my change ups that I'd throw. Fun when hitter would pop up to SS then while jogging past the mound would yell at me 'throw harder you pussy' Just being different out there on the mound, I wasn't going to let you get comfortable in batters box.