Back in shorts and shirt sleeves today. Looks like the weather is finally ready to cooperate with spring training. Players still outnumber coaches and spectators, but that will surely change by next Thursday. There were less than a dozen fans in attendance as the players began their workout in right field on Mike Schmidt Field.
In earlier articles buried at the bottom of the Readers’ Poll posts, I have reported that about to 39 players have been seen at the Complex, today I identified Austin Davis and Drew Stankiewicz. The running list will be at the bottom of this and upcoming posts.
The players completed their stretching exercises and split into two groups for long toss, one on Schmidt Field and one on Ashburn Field. Afterwards, they took fielding practice.
The pitchers split into two groups and ran through their PFPs with Coach Ray Burris. One group fielded balls from the mound and threw to each of the bases. The other group moved from base to base accepting the throws. Then the groups changed places.
The position players took ground balls in the infield and outfield. Joseph, Alfaro, and McBride took balls at first while Hoskins accepted throws at second base. Florimon was at second, Stankiewicz was at shortstop, Moore at third. Cozens, Pullen, Quinn, De La Cruz , and Cabral were in the outfield. Walding was MIA again, he was seen limping around the Complex earlier.
The position players batted in three groups again today –
- 1.) Pedro Florimon, Roman Quinn, Rhys Hoskins, Tommy Joseph;
- 2.) Dylan Cozens, Jorge Alfaro, Logan Moore, Matt McBride; and
- 3.) Andrew Pullin, Drew Stankiewicz, Edgar Cabral, Carlos De La Cruz
Cozens, Joseph, Hoskins, and Alfaro hit some enormous drives that cleared the fences. If you’ve been down here before, you may have met Deron. He was a former bat boy at Jack Russell Stadium who stands beyond the fence and gathers home run balls. He was kept busy today running back and forth catching (yes, catching) the balls that cleared Ashburn’s right field fence.
Charlie was in attendance, watching BP. After yesterday’s post-BP talk, we were curious to see if Cozens did anything noticeably different. I noticed a turning of his front foot just before his weight shift. He also looked like he was getting more of his hips into the swing. I watched to see if the results would be enough for him to continue with the tweaks. He ended his BP session with three consecutive home runs to right, each closer to the line than the previous one.
Charlie and Dylan talked again after BP. Last year, Nick Williams got a lot of this extra attention from multiple coaches (Bowa and Stairs come to mind). Let’s hope we see similar results with Cozens.
When BP was over, most players made their way to the weight room. Pedro Florimon ran the bases for the coaches and trainers. Doesn’t sound like much, but you may remember the horrific ankle injury he suffered last season. Today, he simulated a swing and ran to first with a turn. He returned to the bag, took a lead and ran to second with a turn. Then he walked to third where he simulated a tag play and ran home. He looked a little tentative. He completed the process a second time with a little more confidence. I spoke to him afterward and learned that this was the first time he ran to a base since the injury. That would explain his tentativeness. He said he felt good.
Hoskins remained to field some balls at first. It looked to me that he may not have worn a first baseman’s mitt since last season. Like he worked only on his outfield play after the Phillies signed Carlos Santana. He looked rusty. I know that a lot of you don’t have a lot of respect for Hoskins as a first baseman. I guess you read a lot. I saw him play first when he was with Clearwater. He was a clear upgrade over the guy he replaced and brought some stability to the infield for the second half of the 2015 season.
One funny story. If a pitcher isn’t successful while running through a PFP chance, Coach Burris will make him return to the mound until he gets it right. McKenzie Mills fielded a ball and threw strongly to third, but a little of target. Adam Morgan had to make a diving catch to protect the guys in line behind him. When Coach Burris called for Mills to try it again, the line ran into the third base dugout for safety.
I had a heck of a time identifying Andrew Pullin. He is a player I am familiar with but he showed up with a full beard. I told him today that I spent a lot of yesterday trying to figure out who he was. Finally, by default, I guessed it was he because he was a left-handed outfielder. He said that since he reached Lehigh, he was allowed to grow a beard. I didn’t know that there was a facial hair restriction in the low minors.
And finally, if you are returning to Clearwater for spring training this year, you will notice that the parking lot at DiMaggio Field has been re-surfaced. After Hurricane Irma, the lot was used for vegetative debris storage. There were piles of branches covering the lot thirty feet high. Whatever grass was there, died. Yesterday, the work crews that were at the lot finally removed the fence that blocked the drive way.
These are the players I’ve identified at the Complex –
- Mario Sanchez (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
- Kevin Gowdy (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
- Grant Dyer (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
- Sutter McLoughlin (rehab, may have returned home until his next scheduled appt.)
- Pedro Florimon (rehab, but taking part in all activities)
- Roman Quinn
- Dylan Cozens
- Carlos De La Cruz
- Jake Thompson
- Ben Brown
- McKenzie Mills
- Kyle Young
- Garrett Cleavinger
- Seth McGarry
- Ryan Etsell
- Zach Warren
- Jeff Singer
- J.D. Hammer
- Nick Pivetta
- Ben Lively
- Drew Anderson
- Zach Eflin
- Logan Moore
- Pedro Beato
- Adam Morgan
- Mitch Walding
- Edgar Cabral
- Mark Leiter
- Vince Velasquez
- Tom Eshelman
- Jerad Eickhoff
- Aaron Nola
- Hoby Milner
- Rhys Hoskins
- Jorge Alfaro
- Tommy Joseph
- Brandon Leibrandt
- Andrew Pullin
- Matt McBride
- Austin Davis
- Drew Stankiewicz