VIERA, Fla. - Kurt Suzuki looks at live batting practice sessions from multiple perspectives.
As he stands in the batter’s box, he obviously sees the pitches coming in at him with a hitter’s mindset. But the Nationals catcher also views things from the perspective of a guy who will be behind the plate on the receiving end of these pitches.
Suzuki was in the box today facing reliever Drew Storen during live BP, and he was really impressed with what he saw.
“He was telling you what it was coming, so it wasn’t a surprise, but the way it was coming out of his hand, if you didn’t know it was coming, it would have been tough - put it that way,” Suzuki said with a smile. “He was locating the ball, kept it out of the middle of the plate. Good slider, some good balls sinking into righties. I thought he looked good.”
As I mentioned earlier, Storen’s slider seemed to be really tight today. One thrown to Jayson Werth made the outfielder chuckle at its nastiness, and Suzuki said he was in the box for one of those, too. The pitch started at Suzuki’s front hip and then quickly darted down out of the zone.
“That’s tough, especially when he’s running that two-seamer up on you,” Suzuki said.
It’s not a major development in spring, but live batting practice offers hitters a chance to track pitches and put a real swing on balls thrown by major leaguers, not just batting practice tosses from 45 feet away.
“It’s definitely good to see some live arms coming at you, some arm slots and stuff like that,” Suzuki said, “It just feels weird. It definitely feels weird, but we’ve got a long time down here. You just try and work your way up. You don’t want to peak too soon.”
On another note, Stephen Strasburg commented that he was happy to see Wilson Ramos behind the plate for his live BP session. It’s been nine months since the pair last worked together, as Ramos spent much of the 2012 season and his entire offseason recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee.
“It’s good for me to hear that, because I want to see the pitchers happy,” said Ramos, when informed of Strasburg’s comment. “I want to let the pitchers get more confident and throw strikes, so I put a big target. That’s the reason I like to be behind the plate and make the pitchers a little bit more happy.”
Finally, neither the Nationals nor Gio Gonzalez had much to offer on the latest report on Gonzalez’s link to Biogenesis, the anti-aging clinic which reportedly was dealing performance-enhancers to players.
ESPN reported yesterday that Gonzalez did not receive PEDs from Biogenesis, but because of Major League Baseball’s ongoing investigation, Gonzalez was not willing to get into many details today. He merely gave a brief statement to reporters.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t heard anything yet officially from MLB,” Gonzalez told reporters this afternoon. “I do plan on sitting down and cooperating with them. I want to get this all done before the season starts. This is all new to me, guys. I do plan on getting ready, looking forward to spring training, and I feel confident this is going to come out good.”