By Jim Sullivan
Another great day for baseball in central Florida, though tomorrow's forecast is for 60% rain, and when the rain is coming off the gulf, it tends to pour.
But we're here to talk baseball, so let's get started.
I tend to follow the position players at the start of practice because the pitchers start out with their fielding drills.
Two more position players joined the group, which now consists of eight players. The new members are non-roster players, Luis Rivas and Olmedo (whose first name escapes me), and who didn't even make the brochure that was printed 02/01/08.
After their conditioning drills, which were lead by two trainers, six of the eight then began throwing approx 100 feet, which eliminated both Freddy Sanchez and Chris Duffy.
Duffy then worked individually with a trainer on throwing motion and throwing short distances, while Freddy headed toward the batting cage.
After the position players took their cuts in the cage, two of them broke off to take grounders at 2nd Base. Freddy Sanchez and (would you believe), Doug Me-tov-ich. Somebody has to come up with a shortened name for him - how about Doug Me.
One item caught my fancy while the players where getting ready to take their cuts. Before the players entered the cage, the minor league hitting coordinator approached Nyjer Morgan (with some advice?), then a few seconds later the major league hitting instructor, Don Long, approached Nate McMouth (about what?).
You can read into that scenario whatever you wish. I just found it interesting, and filed it for later reference.
The pitchers throwing off the mound today, were taking their second turn, and therefore were permitted to throw some breaking pitches today for the first time.
I was watching Ian Snell throw, (maybe not from the beginning), and asked him afterward how many breaking balls he threw today. He looked a little startled that a fan was not asking for his autograph, but instead, had a pitching question. He took his time to explain to me that he didn't throw any breaking balls today because he likes to start out slow.
One thing that irritated me today, were "the early twentys fans"
who only want their multiple player cards signed. Let me try to set the
There are literally no loud speaker announcements during the complete workout.
Today one announcement was made, for Paul Maholm, while he was on the mound during a fielding drill. He had a telephone call. As he began running toward the office (not jogging), some jerk hollered to him, asking whether he was returning (to sigh this guy's baseball cards). Boy, if I was only younger!
One of the interesting bunting drills for the pitchers, which I had not seen before, consisted of a bucket, laid on it's side, about forty feet down the 1st base line, and also down the 3rd base line.
The contest was which pitcher could roll the bunt into the bucket (soft enough so it would stay within the bucket).
That's the idea of a training tool which was really entertaining for the participants.
John Russell is everywhere. And if you can't find him, just look for the individual leaning on a yellow handled bat. That bat is a "must buy" at one of the future local charity auctions.
Near the end of each session, I "accidentally" find myself close to the exit leading to the clubhouse. And today the GM stopped by on his way out, to see if I had any additional questions. Not wanting to wear out my welcome, our conversation today was just small talk.
Weather permitting, we'll do it again tomorrow.