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Andrew Cashner’s changeup is the talk of the clubhouse

New Red Sox pitcher Andrew Cashner says he’s looking forward to being in a playoff race. Associated Press

New Red Sox pitcher Andrew Cashner can’t wait to face the Yankees.

Sure, he has faced the Yankees before. He is a 10-year MLB veteran. But he has never had the chance to do so in a Boston uniform.

He will have that chance sooner than later after the Red Sox traded for him this past Saturday, sending two minor league players to the Baltimore Orioles. The move gives the Red Sox a starting pitcher for the five spot and Cashner a chance to compete for a playoff spot.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the race,” Cashner said. “It’s something that I have never been in, really.”

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Cashner has spent time with the Cubs, Padres, Marlins, Rangers, and the Orioles before arriving in Boston. And he’s having one of the better seasons of his career, thanks, in part, to a tricky changeup.

The changeup Cashner brings became a common topic of conversation in both clubhouses Monday, the day before Cashner is scheduled to make his Red Sox debut. He will face the same team he faced in his last start, the Blue Jays. In the 8-1 victory on July 6, Cashner allowed three hits and one earned run over seven innings. His changeup played a key role.

“I got probably six or seven of them, and I didn’t really know what to do with them,” said Toronto catcher Danny Jansen, who finished 0 for 3. “He’s got the two-seam that he throws 93, 94 [miles per hour]. He’s got good command of his fastball. And he’s got a good slider, and I think he’s got a curveball, but that changeup, man. That changeup was killing me last time. He has got a bunch of different pitches he likes to mix up in different counts.”

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who has made 12 plate appearances with Cashner on the mound, remembered that changeup as giving him and other Red Sox batters problems. When Cashner last faced the Red Sox in a 9-5 Baltimore win on April 13, Benintendi went 1 for 2.

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“He was throwing a lot of two-seams at like 91, then he would run up a four-seam at like 96,” Benintendi said. “That was something that is pretty uncomfortable as a hitter.”

A combination of pitching adjustments has helped Cashner during a season in which he proved to be one of the few bright spots for the Orioles. He managed a 9-3 record with a team that entered Monday with a 28-65 record. His 3.83 ERA is the third lowest of his 10 seasons in which he has pitched more than 11 innings.

“I think I have just had a ton of confidence in my changeup over the last month and a half,” Cashner said. “I think my other pitches, I have had great command of them, but the changeup I have thrown in any count. I have been doing some different things with it, and it has been a big pitch for me.”

Cashner also said he feels he has better command than ever before this season. He looks forward to having the opportunity to put these pitches on display in a Boston uniform. Cashner scampered to get to Boston this weekend after the trade, figuring out how to get here and where he would live while keeping his pregnant wife informed of all of the moving parts.

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He looks forward to the normalcy and calm that pitching Tuesday for the first time in 10 days will provide.

“To be able to get into my routine and get going,” Cashner said, “will be nice.”