SARASOTA, Fla. - I wanted to dump out the rest of my spring training bag for today. I’ll also let you know that tomorrow’s workout is slated to begin around 10 a.m., two hours earlier than today.
The crowd was pretty small. I’d say it was a modest gathering. But word on the street is that parking was limited because of the construction vehicles. Try again tomorrow.
As I mentioned earlier, Koji Uehara threw his fourth bullpen session this afternoon. Unlike the others, he did so under close media scrutiny.
“It felt really good throwing out there,” Uehara said through interpreter Jiwon Bang.
Uehara knows a little about Kevin Gregg, who could unseat him as the primary closer this season.
“He was a closer with the Toronto Blue Jays. I’m aware of that,” Uehara said.
“We played catch together, so I’ll be able to learn more about him.”
Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario has a live arm. The kid can bring the heat.
Justin Duchscherer is still dealing with some lingering effects from the cold that make him sound, as he put it, like a “70-year-old” smoker during his conference call with reporters on Feb. 5.
Reliever David Riske was still sporting a small clump of hair below his bottom lip during today’s workout. A few other pitchers had similar facial hair. I can’t imagine that it will last much longer.
Manager Buck Showalter said there are three things you can do with a pitcher: Make sure he’s in the proper condition, put him in fielding drills and have him throw.
“Anything else you do with that and you’re just jerking him around. What else is there?” Showalter said.
“That’s one thing I told them this morning: We’re not going to have you out there doing something to make everybody think we’ve got some new drill. We’re all trying to accomplish the same goal, but while you’re out here and we’re doing one of those three things with the pitchers, I expect you to be locked into that, because there’s a progression. We start with individual defense and go to team defense.”
Showalter expects the pitchers to lead the conditioning drills for the full-squad workouts, since they’re a week ahead of the position players.
“They’re getting basically a one-week cheat sheet on what’s going to be exposed to those guys,” he said.
That’s just part of the responsibility being placed on the pitchers. Showalter had them positioned all over the infield and would roll the ball to them, making sure they knew where everybody was supposed to be and where that ball was supposed to end up in game situations.
“I want them to understand that’s why they’re out there being the infielders, that’s why we have one station that explains what we’re going to do and the other ones that work on plays that are a challenge for a lot of pitchers,” Showalter said. “We’ll progress tomorrow to another one and then come back and repeat them and repeat them and repeat them.
“We want them to kind of be able to coach themselves. It’s kind of like, the greatest accolade you can pay a parent is they taught their children how to get along without them. I don’t look at them as children, obviously, but you want them to police themselves and hold each other accountable for doing everything. The pitcher can only be as good as the first baseman allows him to be on a pick play.”