VIERA, Fla. - While most of the day was highlighted by the “Pitchers’ Hitting Game” that took place on the field at Space Coast Stadium as well as Field 5, there were some other drills run today.
Before the hitting game took place, position players and pitchers all warmed up on the minor league fields, as per normal. They then practiced making turns around first base, and did so with a coach standing directly on top of the base, so that only the very front left corner of the bag was exposed.
The drill was intended to get players to focus on hitting only that portion of the bag when making their turn, so as to make their route as short as possible to second base.
It was a little interesting to see big league ballplayers practicing making a turn around first base, but again, this is the type of stuff Matt Williams wants to reinforce early in camp.
Players then went to their respective positions for pop-up drills. Before the workout, Williams had his staff pass out charts to each player that had “Situational Play Matrix -- Pop Up Priority” written at the top of it.
The chart listed what responsibilities each position had when balls were hit to different areas of the diamond. The responsibilities for catchers were the same in every situation: “Cover Plate”.
Nice and simple.
Playing right field during the pop-up drill, Nate McLouth made a nice running catch in foul territory, grabbing the ball right before colliding with the chain link fence. It wasn’t a hard collision, however, and McLouth was just fine.
A few minutes later, the JUGS machine that launches the balls into the sky sent one up behind second base. Anthony Rendon, playing second, called for the ball first. Ian Desmond then called for it, as well.
Both men made an attempt at the ball, with Desmond ending up making the catch right in front of Rendon. The two then briefly glanced at each other and discussed the play.
“Ball hog!” Williams shouted out at Desmond, before chuckling.