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The shuuto (Japanese シュート) or shootball is a pitch commonly thrown by Japanese pitchers such as Daisuke Matsuzaka that breaks slightly down and in on right-handed batters when thrown by a right-handed pitcher, somewhat similar to a screwball, although with less break. The shuuto begins as a fastball, taking a straight path toward the plate. However, the pitcher has put a slight spin on the ball, such that as the ball's velocity decreases, it "rolls over" and drifts back toward the batter.
The shuuto is often described in English as a "reverse slider", but this is not strictly the case, as the shuuto generally has more velocity and less break than a slider. Western observers also tend to confuse the shuuto with many other types of pitches, including the two-seam fastball, the sinker, or the screwball. All three of these groups of pitches, in differing degrees, will move down and in towards a right handed batter when thrown by a right handed pitcher, or in the opposite manner of a curveball and a slider. The shuuto is unique because it is a faster pitch with less downward break when compared to a screwball, and has less speed but more lateral break when compared to two-seam fastballs and sinking fastballs.
The shuuto is often confused with the gyroball, perhaps because of a well-known article by Will Carroll that erroneously equated the two pitches. Although Carroll later corrected himself, the confusion persists.
The shuuto is used by a handful of American players, mainly in amateur leagues, although some argue that a variation on this pitch is also thrown by San Diego Padres pitcher Greg Maddux. A right-hander, Maddux often uses this shuuto-like pitch to freeze left-handed batters, as the pitch starts inside on the batters, and then breaks sharply down and inside the strike zone as the batter shies away from the ball.
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