We’ve been so preoccupied with every ground ball hit to Miguel Tejada at third base, we’ve practically overlooked Garrett Atkins at first.
Atkins isn’t a stranger to the position, but this is the first spring training where he’s been anointed the starter on the right side.
“I’ve just been taking ground balls and making some throws and getting used to my feet turning that way and making that throw to second,” he said. “We’ve done some bunt plays, and it’s a little bit different going from that side of the infield. Other than that, that’s been about it - taking ground balls and getting used to the bigger glove again.”
Tejada ordered a larger model while moving from shortstop to third. Atkins needs a bigger model while moving from third to first.
Good thing neither one is the emergency catcher.
“As far as the other stuff,” Atkins continued, “it’ll come as I kind of start doing it in practice.”
This includes getting in the proper position for cutoffs - not as easy as it looks - and pickoffs.
The Orioles worked on pickoff plays this morning on one of the back fields. The pitcher would throw to first as the runner broke for second. I just happened to be standing behind the fence or I would have missed it. There’s a lot going on here at the exact same time.
I kept peeking over to the other fields to check whether Chris Tillman was throwing live batting practice. Turns out, he did it on the same field where I was watching the pickoff drill.
Anyway, back to Atkins:
“It’s different movements that you haven’t done in a while, so it’s just getting into the repetitions of doing it,” he said.
I should stop interrupting him.
Atkins also has been working in the cage with hitting coach Terry Crowley.
“It’s going good,” he said. “We’ve hit a few times and BP was good today, even though it was in the cold weather. I felt pretty good the last few rounds.
“I’m just trying to get my body back to being used to doing baseball activities, and once we start facing more live pitching, I’ll be able to see what’s going on better and put more work in. Once you start swinging the bat more in practice, it’ll be a little bit easier to tell.”
Crowley hasn’t done much tweaking so far.
“It’s just kind of working on bat path, the path to the ball, and feeling comfortable with my swing and not trying to do too much,” Atkins said.
Shameless plug alert: The last Hot Stove Show airs tonight on 105.7 The Fan beginning at 8 p.m. Brad Bergesen and third base coach Juan Samuel will call into the show.