SARASOTA, Fla. - Dylan Bundy wasn’t the only pitcher who threw in the bullpen today, just the most heavily anticipated.
Wei-Yin Chen, Pat Neshek and Armando Galarraga were in Group 1, Willie Eyre, Jason Berken and Brian Matusz were in Group 2, Oliver Drake, Chris Tillman and Oscar Villarreal were in Group 3, Jon Link and Miguel Socolovich were in Group 4, and Steve Johnson joined Bundy in Group 5.
(I’m going left to right, in case you’re wondering why I listed their names in a particular order. It’s a really long mound.)
Chen has better velocity than Wada, but they both locate on both sides of the plate. Neshek has a sidearmed delivery that he completes by swinging his right leg across his body. He occasionally does a little hop at the end. It’s quite a show.
Hall of Famer Jim Palmer complimented Matusz afterward and noted the improvement in the lefty’s hips.
Wieters caught Chen, so I returned to his locker for another scouting report.
“I was impressed,” Wieters said. “The ball came out of his hand really well with some life on it, and his location for this early in the spring was pretty spot-on. I was definitely excited about his bullpen and look forward to catching him some more.”
Chen threw his fastball, changeup, slider and curveball, “and every pitch that he threw, we can use it and it will be pitchable in the big league level,” Wieters said. “But most importantly, what I got out of today is he can locate on both sides of the plate whenever he wants to.”
Wieters didn’t catch Bundy, but he paid close attention.
“He’s got a good arm,” Wieters said. “The biggest thing is he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He came to camp and he’s learning what he can, and that arm is a gift.”
Johnson said he felt good today and “everything is coming along.”
“It just takes some time to click,” he said. “Fastball command. That’s the main thing. It’ll get there. It’s only the second ‘pen of the spring.”