Beautiful morning in Clearwater Friday. I arrived at the Complex early just in case the workouts started early again. My Complex buddy, Steve Potter, arrived early too. They didn’t start early, but we got to see the players as they crossed from the stadium to the building that houses the weight room and batting cages until practice started. We got to engage with a lot of the players. They seem to be more likely to stop and talk before practice starts. Six new faces today.
I’m repeating the following to make sure the word gets out. There has been a change to the players’ reporting date. Pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals on Monday and Tuesday next week. Their first workout will be on Wednesday, February 14th. Valentine’s Day. The first full workout is still on the 19th.
Some big names made their first appearance at today’s workout – Nick Williams, Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Andrew Knapp, Will Middlebrooks, and Dalton Guthrie. My count is up to 48 in Clearwater.
During exercises and stretching, coaches usually stand around the perimeter conversing. The actual workout is run by the strength and conditioning guys.
I counted 28 pitchers long tossing on Schmidt Field and 15 position players on Ashburn. Mario Sanchez and Grant Dyer tossed separately with a coach. The coach took Dyer’s throws in a squat and Sanchez returned the toss. I think Dyer is almost ready to throw off a mound.
During long toss, coaches wait to run the fielding drills.
After long toss, the pitchers and catchers went to the Seven Mounds while the position players split up on Ashburn. Williams, Hoskins, Quinn, Cozens, Pullin, and De La Cruz fielded balls in the outfield. Guthrie and Stankiewicz switched off at shortstop, Middlebrooks manned third, and Joseph fielded balls at first.
Coaches took throws on the first base bag until a new first baseman joined the practice.
During the infield drills, Roman Quinn came in to take some balls at short. This fits in with the organization’s creating depth and flexibility.
When the pitchers are on the Seven Mounds, they are in an area where we can’t watch them pitch. I was able to take the photo below, but it is difficult to identify the pitchers, and impossible to comment on their pitching.
There are six pitchers throwing. With only 5 catchers in town, Coach Greg Brodzinski dons the tools of ignorance to help out. Before Knapp arrived, Coach Shawn Williams was helping out, sans equipment. This first group was comprised of guys who were on the major league roster. Mark Leiter is in the gray tee. Lively has his glove up. Eflin is in the black tee. I think the other three are Pivetta, Eickhoff, and Anderson. One is off screen. After I took this, Velasquez started to throw. That’s Scott Palmer in the dugout.
The position players batted in four groups today –
- 1.) Nick Williams, Tommy Joseph, Rhys Hoskins;
- 2.) Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens, Will Middlebrooks, Andrew Pullin;
- 3.) Edgar Cabral, Carlos De La Cruz, Drew Stankiewicz, Dalton Guthrie;
- 4.) Jorge Alfaro, Matt McBride; Logan Moore, Andrew Knapp.
Cozens, Joseph, Hoskins, and Alfaro continue to hit bombs. Joseph cleared the batter’s eye and bounced a couple others toward the half-field in front of Spectrum Field. A few of us have decided to refer to it as Bowa Field. If I start typing that here, that’s the field I am referring to. Knapp still has a beautiful swing from both sides of the plate. Cabral shows surprising power and makes a lot of solid contact. De La Cruz is coming along. He’s going to be fun to follow in the GCL.
After the catcher’s finished hitting, Hoskins took ground balls at first.
Drew Stankiewicz wears a compression sleeve on his right arm. He didn’t have a particular reason why, it’s just something he started using and got used to. Roman Quinn has been in good spirits since talking to Kapler earlier in the week. Kapler makes a point to talk to all the new guys each day, even the low minors guys. He seems to be having a conversation each day with Roman. Quinn seems a lot looser. Yesterday he and Cozens were play sparring with Quinn darting in and out and Cozens just trying to grab an arm. Ended in a draw. We suggested to Roman that he stop bullying the big guy. Dalton Guthrie looks bigger than I remember from last season. He was able to lift during the off season. He was happy that I noticed. Middlebrooks had a cool tee and reacted favorably when I complimented him for it. It read, “Wendy Peppercorn is a dime”. Coach Hines is a local guy. He’ll be the hitting coach for one of the GCL teams. He’s happy to be working so close to home. Also got to speak briefly with Kapler, Chaves, Thomson, Shaun Williams, Scott Palmer, Roly, and a gaggle of players.
I’m going to miss this familiarity when all the ST fans show up.
These are the players identified at the Complex –
- Mario Sanchez (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
- Kevin Gowdy (rehab, may have returned home until his next scheduled appt.)
- Grant Dyer (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
- Sutter McLoughlin (rehab, may have returned home until his next scheduled appt.)
- Pedro Florimon (rehab, MIA on Friday)
- Roman Quinn
- Dylan Cozens
- Carlos De La Cruz
- Ryan Etsell
- Ben Brown
- J.D. Hammer
- Kyle Young
- Garrett Cleavinger
- Seth McGarry
- Zach Warren
- McKenzie Mills
- Jeff Singer
- Nick Pivetta
- Drew Anderson
- Zach Eflin
- Ben Lively
- Jake Thompson
- Logan Moore
- Pedro Beato
- Adam Morgan
- Mitch Walding (MIA again, rumored to be limping around the Complex)
- 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
- Jiandido Tromp (MIA on Friday, wondering if his sighting was correct)
- Nick Williams
- Hector Neris
- Luis Garcia
- Andrew Knapp
- Will Middlebrooks
- Dalton Guthrie