Day 10: When do the games start anyway?
PEORIA, Ariz. — Hey, double-digits! It’s Day 10 here in Peoria and we’re getting closer and closer to games (Sunday) where we’ll have some actual performances to talk about, like camp competitions (Forsythe vs. Cabrera, Owings vs. Bass, etc.).
I like the early work, the BP sessions, pitchers in the bullpen, all of that. But you get to a point here where it’s just time for games. I think we’re reaching that point. The players will flat out tell you this, though you can sometimes read it in their body language.
Remember kids, six weeks of Spring Training is mostly a function for pitchers and for new catchers (to learn a staff). The rest of the guys don’t need nearly that long and I’m pretty sure the beat writers don’t either (don’t ask my boss … trust me on this one).
Anyway, a few things from today, including some video of Casey Kelly throwing off a mound. Not my best work, but they’re not paying me to be the next Martin Scorsese. I promised I’ll try harder next time. Deal?
— I watched Dustin Moseley, Anthony Bass, Joe Wieland and Casey Kelly pitch to hitters today. You have two fields here for BP so you have to pick and choose who you want to see. I’m a little regretful that I missed Robbie Erlin’s session today because I heard he looked very good, but Wieland and Kelly were worth watching. Same with Bass, who showed some good smoke today.
— Padres manager Bud Black — who still won’t name a starting pitcher for Sunday — said that we could see Cameron Maybin, Will Venable or possibly Everth Cabrera in the leadoff spot a week from Wednesday when the Padres face Texas and Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. This was a joke of sorts, as we always try to get some pertinent information out of Black — Opening Day starter, leadoff hitter, what he has for dinner in San Francisco. Not that he’s tight-lipped, but he knows we want this information and isn’t afraid to remind us of that.
— Black had some very good things to say about pitcher Edinson Volquez today. “I like him,” Black said. “He looks good.” Black indicated that Volquez has gone through all of his progressions this spring and passed them with flying colors. The big thing for him (well, any pitcher) is throwing strikes. That’s something he had an issues with in Cincinnati a year ago, one year after reconstructive elbow surgery. “As for the health of the arm … the initial impression is favorable,” Black said.
— I wrote about Andrew Cashner today, because I hadn’t done so in a day. I’m kidding, but it sure seems like he’s creating a buzz every time he pitches — bullpen or to hitters. He told me he played shortstop and even caught some in high school in Texas, though his bat was lagging a bit. “I couldn’t hit a curveball,” he said. He didn’t really find his velocity until he got to TCU and when he went from starting games to relieving them.
“When I was in high school, I was probably 88 to 92 mph, somewhere in there. Went to junior college and was 88-94 mph. I kept getting stronger and stronger every year,” he said. “But it really took off when I went to TCU and went from a starter to being a reliever.”
— Ernesto Frieri is always a good guy to talk to. He’s been in the system longer than anyone (signing a free agent deal in 2003, before the team selected Tim Stauffer, who would be second on the tenure list). Ernie, or ‘Big Ern’ as he likes to be called, is working to smooth out some things with his delivery, which is a little unique to begin with. I’ve detailed this at Padres.com. Check it out later. Frieri hit nine batters last season, the second-most among MLB relievers.
As Black said, Frieri’s delivery comes with “a couple different hitches, the shoulder sort of hitches. With the hand, there’s a little bit of a pump. And with the stride, it’s extremely across his body. A lot of his success is based on his stuff and his deception based on his delivery.”
–Clayton Richard threw to hitters for the first time since July 4 of last season. You might remember the five shutout innings he tossed against the Giants? That was his last game of the season as he went on the DL the next day with a strained left shoulder. Later in July, Richard ended up having arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder.
“It went well. It’s another step in getting ready for the season. It felt normal,” Richard said. “It’s good to throw to hitters. It’s been a while since I did that. It was nice to get that out of my system.”
That’s it for today friends, thanks for stopping by.
Corey Brock, MLB.com