Day 1 Short Hops
The first official pitchers and catchers workout has come and gone. One day down… and I’m too afraid to count the number of days to go, so I’ll refrain in order to keep my sanity. The plan, though, throughout those remaining days of Spring Training is to use this blog to supplement the regular stories on the site. So be sure to check back here for all the miscellaneous details and anecdotes each day.
Your short hops (as I’m going to call them until someone suggests a better subtitle) for today:
- 18 of the 34 pitchers in camp threw bullpen sessions (35 pitches) on Saturday. That would include: Ross Ohlendorf, Ian Snell, Jimmy Barthmaier, Brian Slocum, Matt Capps, Sean Burnett, Tyler Yates, Virgil Vasquez, Donnie Veal, Jesse Chavez, Chris Bootcheck, Craig Hansen, Juan Mateo, Evan Meek, Jeff Sues, Ronald Uviedo, Daniel Haigwood and Romulo Sanchez. Those that didn’t throw on Saturday are scheduled to do so on Sunday (the only exception, of course, being Phil Dumatrait, who remains about three weeks behind schedule).
- All players reported (i.e. no visa problems) and all underwent physicals and EKGs before the team meeting began at 11:30.
- After taking the field at 12:20 to do long toss, the pitchers split up onto four fields and took part in a variety of drills — fielding bunts, covering first base, etc.
- At the same time the pitchers were doing fielding drills, the catchers worked on fielding bunts and position players Brandon Moss, Nyjer Morgan and Garrett Jones took part in BP.
- Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan relayed his plans for dealing with the shortened workout schedule this spring due to the World Baseball Classic. Kerrigan said he plans to use nine relievers for one inning apiece in the Pirates’ first Grapefruit League game on Feb. 25. Starters will then begin pitching on Feb. 26.
- Kerrigan has also begun introducing pitchers to two “dummies” that he will be using in an exercise to get pitchers more comfortable pitching inside. Right now, the dummies are being set up while pitchers play catch from 55 feet so that they can get used to them being there. As Kerrigan put it: “It’s just so that they get used to training their eyes so that they can get the hitter out of the picture when they pitch inside.” Later this spring, those dummies will be placed next to the plate every time a pitcher throws a sides session.
I also had the pleasure of spending some time talking with former Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen on Saturday after he took a seat next to me to watch the bullpen sessions. The always loquacious Sanguillen had plenty to say, so I figured I would pass along the highlights:
- Sanguillen will be working with the catchers until heading back to Panama on March 6. I asked him if he would be donning catching gear at some point like he did last year and he said: “Of course.”
- He lauded improvements Ryan Doumit has made defensively in the past year, noting that he’s doing a better job of staying down to block pitches in the dirt.
- Sanguillen also singled out Burnett and Capps for their side sessions. He was especially complimentatry of the movement of Burnett’s pitches and an improved arm angle by the lefty.
- I also asked Manny if he’d be helping out at all with Team Panama in the World Baseball Classic. He said he was invited to help, but declined the invitation. He hopes to be involved during the next WBC.
Quote of the Day: “It’s time for us as an organization to realize that losing is not acceptable.It’s not an acceptable way of life for a Pirate.” – Manager John Russell, repeating his message from the team meeting.
Sunday’s workout begins with a 9:30 am team meeting and then on-field work from 10 am – 1 pm