Minicamp has morphed into spring training. Today, the position players reported to the Complex for their physicals. The first full-squad workout will be tomorrow.
We arrived at the Complex around ten o’clock to watch any activity by the pitchers. We knew it would be a long day for us since we had heard that Abel and Painter would be pitching live BP. Those has been scheduled for after two o’clock so far.
In addition to the physicals, there were a lot of indoor meetings scheduled. But, eventually, players began to drift out of the Complex and onto the fields.
Some of the position players who had attended minicamp (and, therefore, had already passed their physicals) walked over to BayCare Field. A similar number were sent there Saturday and the field was open to spectators. That was not the case today.
The pitchers came out in four groups. The first group stretched and performed other exercises on Roberts Field. When finished, they moved over to Carlton Field for long toss. The second group took their place on Roberts. When their arms were loose, the first group moved to the mound on Carlton for PFPs. The second group moved over to long toss, and the third group took their place on Roberts. The groups continued their rotation until a fourth group completed all three stations, too.
First group (11) – M. Adams, T. Carr, J. Garcia, Hennigan, J. Hernandez, Lindow, Perkins, Ross, Rossman, Skirrow, Sullivan
Second group (11) – Baker, Ben Brown, C. Francisco, Hughes, Lopez, McGowan, Potter, Reyes, Ruffcorn, Silva, Woodward
Third group (6) – Cotto, Osterberg, Russell, Wetherbee, Wynne, and a guy in a no-name shirt
Fourth group (11) – T. Adams, Aldeghari, Antonac, Betancourt, J. Lee, Ottenbreit, Pena, Smith, Soriano, Ulloa, Valdez-Acuna
After a break, a whole lot of catchers were on Schmidt Field, long tossing in half-gear. This is generally a sign that pitchers will throw bullpens. While they were doing that, the clubbies lined the batters’ boxes on Ashburn and Roberts. A sure sign that pitchers would be throwing live BPs. Afterward, the boxes were protected with batting mats and batting cages were put in place on Ashburn, Carlton, and Roberts.
Eleven of the position players on hand long tossed on Ashburn and then went through fielding drills – Azuaje, Baylor, E. Brito, W. Flores, Y. Flores, Y. Garcia, H. Lee, Martin, Simmons, Vasquez, Viars. Catchers took BP on Roberts, another sign that bullpens were coming. You want the catchers to hit before they catch multiple bullpens. They hit in three groups that I saw. Conley, Ellison, Fitch; Aparicio, De Freitas, Gonzalez, Quirion; Francisco, Mejia, Nava.
Things started to pick up. Pitchers who were going to throw bullpens had done their stretching and long toss on Schmidt Field. They can always be identified by the game jerseys they wear.
We saw four pairs of pitchers and catchers throw on the mounds between Carlton and Roberts. Glogoski/Aparicio and Lackey/Gonzalez, A. Anderson/Conley and Lozano/Aparicio, Ash/Quirion and Yanez/Gonzalez, McKenney/Aparicio and DJ Jefferson/Conley.
Another 8-12 pitchers threw on the Seven Mounds, but they were hard to identify.
The remaining position players from minicamp batted on Roberts – Burke, Guzman, Hall, Kroon, O’Hoppe, Rojas, Stokes, Stott, Torres, Wilson. Coach Shawn Williams hit ground balls to the fielders who were not in the batting group.
An interesting drill afterward had Torres then Guzman bat with one of those protective screens they use on the field during drills placed just off the outside of the plate. Coach Long fired balls underhand threw the strike zone. Torres and Guzman were required to put balls in play without hitting the screen with their bat. I think the idea was to prevent lunging at pitches and pulling the ball. I heard long mention to Guzman that this swing was unleashing unfound power. Afterward, they were coached up by multiple coaches instead of the usual one coach.
Finally, pitchers warmed up to throw live BP. Abel pitched to O’Hoppe and they took the field around 2:10 PM. Guzman, Garcia, and Hall faced Abel, Painter, and Miller on Ashburn. I didn’t see who faced Leverett, Armenta, and Mayer on Roberts.
Abel and Painter looked pretty good. Guzman turned on an Abel pitch and hit a hard fly ball down the left field line that would likely be caught. Hall crushed a ball off Painter that hit the base of the right field wall by the right side of the scoreboard. It may have beat a shift. It probably would have gone out but for the wind.
It was a long day, but worth watching our young arms throw live BP.