Written by JayThomas
Tidbits from Sarasota 2/19/14.
Due to AM crisis management, I was late again to the fields. Fortunately, so were the players. Apparently no one was out before 10:30 and I got there at 11:30. The first guy I saw walking in from the NE parking area was Suk-min Yoon fielding at the mound and throwing home. Rick Peterson was hitting the grounders. Yoon seemed pretty loose and seemed to be fitting in.
Identifying new guys
I am very proud of myself for identifying my first new guy without seeing his number. I picked up De La Cruz throwing his bullpen session. You can't really see anything except for the top part of the pitcher, so no comment on the pitches themselves, but he was out there. Big guy.
On the other side of the coin, I was the goat yesterday. I saw a smallish white dude who was buff heading back to the clubhouse and called out 'Hey David, will you sign?'. He turned around and said, "I'm not David, I'm Cord." I said "Oh, sorry, you look pretty buff too." and he said "Yeah, a few people have made that mistake." So I got Cord's autograph instead. He took it very good-naturedly.
I got it from one of the guys working there: "it is done ... guaranteed to be on the field tomorrow".
A Tale of Two Pitchers
After the last of the Rick Peterson fielding drills, all the pitchers were headed out to field 3. Chris Tillman was the first to turn around and start jogging over that way. He turned around and yelled a 'thank you' back to Peterson. Tillman looks the part of an Adam Wainwright / Matt Carpenter - tall guy, acts like a leader. The last guy moving, and trailing the group walking, was Brian Matusz. I heard Peterson come up behind him and call out to him something very much like "you see other guys running maybe you outta run too". Matusz turned and said something back and then turned and started jogging after the group
My prediction: Matusz' head is unravelling after the signing of two more starters, making his chances of starting very slim. If his head is really wrong, maybe he'll get traded for a part or two. McFarland and Britton can fill in until Patton gets back ... or maybe De La Cruz can step up. People on here have suggested that Buck really likes him and he certainly looks the part.
Alfredo Aceves runs like Babe Ruth in those old films, small-ish steps and legs never extending. This from another fielding drill fielding slow rollers between 1st & the mound.
Michael Almanzar is in the house. He looks the part too. I wish there were some way we could work out a deal to keep him. I watched a situational fielding drill with the bubble infielders and pitchers. You know, 'runner on 1st no outs' and then a roller to third, that sort of thing. Almanzar was the only guy at 3rd. If he has an arm he wasn't showing it. Marrero and someone else were at 1st. Schoop and Phelps manned 2nd. Back to Phelps for a moment, I wasn't a complete lunatic mistaking him for Lough yesterday. He is not a tall guy. The roster has him listed at 6'2" and Schoop at 6'1", but they were standing next to each other all day and Schoop is a good 2-3" taller.
They took batting practice on 3 fields. I watched field 2 where Presley was standing right behind the cage barking situations and instructions on where to hit it. They did some bunts, hit-and-runs, runners on 1st & 2nd 0 outs, that sort of thing.
The hitters came in groups. Infielders: CD, JJ, Manny, Flaherty, Casilla, Weeks. JJ, Weeks, Manny were putting down some good bunts. CD looked good in the cage.
Outfielders: AJ, Nick, Lough, Nolan, Young, Wieters. Everybody cheered when Nick cleared the fence with one. Wieters only batted from the left side, and he was hitting the ball with authority. On consecutive pitches he drove the ball to right field, then left field, then center field. I couldn't hear Presley very well so I don't know if that was under instruction but it sure looked intentional.
Bubble Group 1: Schoop, DeJesus, Almanzar, Peguero, Marrero, Phelps (BJ pitching).
Bubble Group 2: Borbon, Urrutia, Xavier Paul, Pearce, Quintin Berry, Alex Gonzalez. Urrutia is not a bunter. Despite what Roch reported, Urrutia did come out for BP ~1:00.
More tomorrow I hope.
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