With added sinker, Resop on a roll early for A's

ANAHEIM -- Chris Resop had played around with a sinker before, but he could never quite find a grip that felt right.

Then one day while throwing in Spring Training this year, the A's reliever was stopped by Bartolo Colon, who had been watching nearby. Colon simply moved Resop's hand on the baseball and told him to throw it.

And that's how Resop's sinker was born.

"The first one I threw felt comfortable," Resop said Thursday. "I had asked him in Spring Training how he threw his, and I never did anything about it after that until he showed me that day. I kind of ran with it and knew Spring Training was a good time to work on it, try to get a feel for it and trust it."

The sinker upped the veteran's repertoire to five pitches, all of which happen to be working quite well. Entering Thursday, the right-handed Resop had yet to give up a run through five innings spanning five appearances. His ERA during Spring Training, in nine outings, was also zero.

Many pitchers are better at verbally expressing themselves when things are going awry than when they're on cruise control. Resop is one of them.

"I can't really put a finger on it, on any one particular thing I'm doing," said Resop, in his eighth Major League season. "I'm just doing what I've always tried to do, get after guys and get ahead by throwing strikes early in the count, get outs early in the count."

Not only is Resop now equipped with a sinker that complements his four-seamer -- "I can go in to lefties and away to righties with that pitch and in to righties and away to lefties with the sinker," he explained -- but the 30-year-old is also throwing his cutter again, a pitch the Pirates took away from him last year. They thought he was relying on it too much and preferred his curveball anyway.

Around the same time, Resop suddenly found himself in a mopup role, losing setup responsibilities for a period that allowed him "to be confident I could do well in any situation."

That's served him well in the early going with his new team. Resop has pitched in every inning but the first three for the A's this year, excelling in each.

"An established role would be nice," he said, "but we don't get a win if we all don't do our jobs, no matter the inning."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.