Days two and three of pitchers and catchers were the same as day one.
On day two, the only difference in the routine was that Wednesday’s non-pitching group threw from the mounds, and the pitching group went through the PFP stations. Newly signed Drew Hutchinson, was present, in uniform, and taking part in the workout. The groups were –
- Taveras, Suarez, Kilome, Dominguez, Hammer
- Anderson, Leiter, Irvin, Eshelman, Leibrandt
- Nola, Eickhoff, Pivetta, Lively, De Los Santos, Hutchinson
I went back to check last season’s workouts against this season’s workouts. In 2017, PFPs were run with smaller groups, but not as small as this year’s. Pitchers are getting a lot more reps in much smaller groups, albeit every other day rather than every day. There is a lot less standing around waiting for your turn this year.
Early reporting infielders took fielding practice on Bowa Field. Without numbered jerseys, it’s difficult to determine who is who. Of the 10 guys participating, it looked like Franco, Kingery, and Rosales at third; Middlebrooks and Joseph at first: and (this is where it was really tough) Crawford, Florimon, Meneses, Alvarez, and Valentin at the middle infield position. Although, we were only 100% sure of Crawford and Florimon.
The stadium is still closed. So, we can’t watch the position players take BP. But, the catchers are getting theirs after their work with the pitchers is done. Half bat on Roberts while the other half run through defensive drills on Carlton. Another change. Players are not shagging balls during BP. That is being done by the staff. We’ll see if that continues when full squad BP starts.
Day three, started an hour earlier. Afternoon tee times are believed to be the culprit. The players followed their Wednesday drills and groups. Another new twist occurred this morning. I spotted umpires in full dress in a group by the Seven Mounds. I hope you can see in this photo. Drew Anderson is throwing to Edgar Cabral. Andrew Knapp is standing in as the batter, with an umpire calling balls and strikes.
Something else new occurred after practice. Coach Kapler told a group of fans that he would come back after his press conference to sign autographs and take pictures. Word got around, and a small group waited by the Ashburn dugout in anticipation. We watched as he made his way from field to field until he got to the conference site – a picnic table beyond Ashburn Field in the shadow of Spectrum Field.
After his presser ended, Kapler went inside the stadium and a few disheartened people left. A few minutes later, he emerged from the tunnel and made his way to the waiting throng. Okay, 20 people doesn’t constitute a throng, but you get the idea. He even took questions. I got the first one in when I asked ” whose idea was it to bring in umpires?”. Craig Driver was his response. He went on to explain that new ideas are welcome and will be tried. He also said that the pitchers were allowed to opt out of the “experiment” if they weren’t comfortable with umpires there. And, that the umpire’s presence was beneficial for the catchers as he and the coaches explained framing techniques. He even got down in a squat to help us visualize.
2018 ST Roster – Nick Rickles and Drew Hutchinson are additions who aren’t on this original version.