I arrived at the Complex around 9:30 AM. As is my custom, I spoke briefly with the security guards. They weren’t able to provide much in the way of information about the day’s schedule other than the obvious, “Both field’s are set up for BP”.
My compatriots, Steve and Mark, were sitting in their cars, waiting for the players to come out of the Bay Care Field clubhouse (I’m sure the old name is out). We discussed the meaning of “both fields” and correctly deduced that two groups of catchers were going to bat and NOT additional position players.
We arrived at that conclusion because position players have been arriving and after coming by for a COVID test, are required to quarantine back in their rooms for up to 48 hours. We shouldn’t see the bulk of them until Monday.
We decided to watch the Mini Camp catchers on Roberts rather than the ST catchers on Ashburn because we have a minimal view of the Seven Mounds from behind Roberts and no view from behind Ashburn. And the best reason for batting both groups of catchers first is BULLPENS!
We carried our gear around to our perch behind the CF fence on Roberts. We watched the three MC catchers, Edgar Cabral, Roberto Duran, and Logan O’Hoppe complete their running drills between first and third bases. We very likely missed first to second and second to third.
After they completed running, they made their way to the batting cage. One of the coaches pitched to the catchers in the order above. Batters are required to bunt the first two pitches before getting their hacks in. Usually, BP requires some situational hitting – opposite field, fly ball, stuff like that. Today, it was hard to tell if they were under such instructions. There were a lot of crisply hit balls, though. (Note: Andrew Knapp, Rafael Marchan, and Jeff Mathis took BP on Ashburn.)
Our earlier guess was rewarded when at least four groups of pitchers threw on Seven Mounds – Hector Neris, Michael Ynoa, Sam Coonrod, Chase Anderson, Ramon Rosso, Spencer Howard, Brandon Kintzler, Jose Alvardo, Jojo Romero, and Connor Brogdon. Unless Knitzler threw in two of the groups, we missed a hurler in the first group.
There were probably additional pitchers on Schmidt or Ashburn getting their stretching and long-tossing in. We couldn’t see from our vantage point. But, the groups we were watching would go do PFPs on Schmidt after their bullpens. Pickoff PFPs. They were interspersed with other pitchers who didn’t throw bullpens. We could make out Bradley and Wheeler among some of the other bodies.
More pitchers came out after the bullpens ended. Bailey Falter, Zach Eflin, Damon Jones, Christopher Sanchez, and Adonis Medina on Roberts. Bailey returned a wave of acknowledgment before they started their stretching exercises. They progressed to soft/long toss and then PFPs. The fielding kind, not pickoffs.
Two other groups crossed Roberts to Carlton. We switched positions to Carlton’s RF fence and watched David Hale, Brian Mitchell, Matt Moore, Aaron Nola, Hector Rondon, Vince Velasquez, and Ivan Nova perform PFPs, fielding and flipping to first base. We repositioned again to identify four pitchers in left field who were tossing – Jake Hernandez, Tyler Carr, Julian Garcia, and Jonathan Hennigan. I felt sorry for Carr. He stood idly by while Hennigan and a coach talked at length before each toss.
We had had enough and headed back to the parking lot. As we passed Ashburn, we saw pitchers taking bunting practice. A couple stations had been set up to allow more than one pitcher to bunt at the same time. Pitches came from the mound area and I saw pitchers bunting from home plate and second base.
One difficulty we have had is identifying players from a distance, even with names and numbers on their uniforms. We’ve been able to look up numbers on the Phillies website for active players and the external NRIs. But, it is particularly difficult identifying the internal NRIs since their numbers aren’t provided anywhere. In the past, we would have eventually gotten a team-provided roster. But, that’s not likely to happen this year.
If Mark provides photos later, I’ll post them in a separate Photo Album without any humorous descriptions since they were misconstrued.
This will be it for the weekend. I’ll return to the Complex on Monday when the full squad workouts begin. As you can see, my ability to provide coverage is greatly hampered this year. I don’t know if I’m going to attend every day or even every other day. We’ll see.