Wednesday, February 22, 2006

February 22nd - The Bonds Watch Ends

Well, lets get this out of the way first. Barry arrived in camp today, as practically everyone in the world knows by now. The press coverage was ridiculous. I thought he looked in good shape and good spirits. He weighs probably 5-10 pounds less than he was last year....but not much more than that. He did a lot of smiling and a lot of visiting with teamates. He also participated in the same workout as everyone else.

Bonds took outfield practice and even made a behind the back catch. He did not move around too much, so it is hard to say how the knee was effecting him. One thing I noticed was when it was Bonds' or Alou's turn to catch a ball, the coaches hit the balls right to them so they didn't have to move much. When the coaches were hitting balls to other players, they made them run a lot more.

The team took live batting practice against live pitching (not coaches) for the first time this year. Jason Schmidt was the first pitcher, followed by Noah Lowry, then Brad Hennessey, then Tyler Walker, followed by Steve Kline and the final pitcher was Scott Munter. The pitchers were throwing to a catcher, taking signs and throwing both fastballs and breaking stuff. The hitters are WAY behind the pitchers, as is normal for this time of year. In over an hour of live batting practice, I don't think there were more than a dozen hard hit balls that would have been base hits in a game situation. The hitters did a lot of standing and watching the pitches go by, trying to regain their timing. Very few pitches were even hit into fair territory.

There was only ONE a matter of fact there was only one ball that was anywhere near a homerun. Guess who hit that? After looking not very good against Schmidt and watching a lot of pitches go by, Bonds, on about his 5th swing, hit a hard line drive that bounced off the facing of the new patio above the RF wall. That ball got out in a hurry and was still on it's way up as it slammed off the large steel girder that supports part of the patio. Seems like Bonds is ready to start right back were he left off.

After having some of the weakest swings yesterday, Moises Alou took some of the best today. Although no one really hit the ball hard off the pitchers, Moises made the most contact and actually hit a couple of hard line drives. I thought Noah Lowry was going to break Steve Finley's back when he threw him a nasty changeup when Finley was obviously looking for a fastball. For those of you worried about Scott Munter, he was throwing nice and loose with good sink on his pitches. He appears 100% healthy to me.

One encounter that I found pretty humorous occurred when Steve Kline was pitching to Lance Niekro. After looking pretty bad for most of their duel, Lance lined a low linedrive back to the mound that just missed Kline as it skipped into centerfield. Kline pretended to be upset, picked up a handful of dirt and threw it at Niekro. Both players had a good laugh. Of course, to show his competitive spirit, on the very next pitch, Kline threw Niekro an inside fastball and broke his bat. Niekro was complaining that his hands stung and Kline was telling him something to the effect of "that's what you get for almost hitting me". When Kline's session was through, he and Niekro got together and were having a hearty laugh about the whole thing. I really think Kline will be good for this team. The Giants need a joker like him to keep the team loose.

After that, the team took some more BP off of the coaches. I didn't stay for the entire session, but the hitters were doing much better against the coaches than they did against Schmidt, Lowry, Hennessey, Walker, Kline or Munter.

Bonds finished his day with about 45 minutes of press interviews in the dugout, while the rest of his teamates participated in the second session of BP.

I have posted several photos of Bonds below (as if even MORE photos of Bonds need to be posted on the web). I will post a few more photos of the other players a little later this evening.


baseballfanof51 said...

Awesome write-up, very descriptive! Also great pictures - keep it up you're the bright spot of my day. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

i agree with the fan above..reading this blog is the best part of my day!! keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Great Stuff!!! I come to this site daily to check out the Recap and Pictures. Counting down the Days until the 1st pitch is thrown for teh Orange and Black. Go Giants!!!