Friday, February 24, 2006

February 24th, 2006

Today was another beautiful, sunny, mid-70's day in Scottsdale. The Giants went through their usual workout; ground balls to the infield, flies to the outfield and batting practice, but added a couple of drills I had not seen. One was a popup drill where a full squad, including pitchers, fielded popups from a pitching machine. The intent was to get the players to correctly call for the ball. Outfielders had to call off infielders when appropriate, infielders had to follow the infield protocol, ie: SS has priority, 2B next, pitchers last and so on.

I also saw the young outfielders complete a baserunning drill. In this drill the players practiced leading off from the bag and either held or took off for the next base depending on whether the coach (acting as a pitcher) held the ball, threw a strike to the catcher or threw the ball into the dirt. It was very obvious that the kids took this drill very seriously.......I wonder if the veterans would have done the same?

Also at the end of the practice I saw another drill I had not seen. The coaches used a pitching machine, set up at shortstop, to shoot balls into the ground very close to the firstbasemen, simulating an errant throw from SS. This drill provided a good way for the firstbasemen on the team to field shorthop after shorthop, thereby improving their skills in this area. I am amazed how they can take ball after ball into the dirt and not flinch.

The team again took live batting practice thrown by the pitchers, followed by a second round of batting practice thrown by the coaches. The pitchers today were; Noah Lowry, Pedro Liriano, Tyler Walker, Scott Munter, Michael Tejera and Kevin Correia. The batters are still behind the pitchers. The only HR of the first round of BP was Todd Greene off of Michael Tejera. It seemed like Lowry was having trouble throwing strikes. The batters only took half a dozen swings off of him on 40 pitches or so. Barry Bonds was the only batter that made solid contact sending one pitch to the warning track. The batters weren't swinging and missing.....they were just letting the balls go by.

In the second round of BP, with the coaches pitching, the batters fared much better. Barry Bonds had a monster round hitting seven, mostly very long homeruns. Barry hit all seven HRs toward the end of his round. At one point he hit back to back HRs, one of which CLEARED the patio in RF on a line and the second one of which landed about 4/5ths of the way up the grass berm between the RF power alley and dead CF. At another point, he hit back-to-back-to-back HRs. Not as long as the other two, but none of them were cheapies either. Yeah.........Barry can still hit. Moises Alou had a very good round, hitting linedrive after linedrive. Lance Niekro continues to hit the ball VERY well as does Todd Greene. Randy Winn still has not found his stroke. The kids took BP on the practice field, so I was not able to see any of them hit.

I have received a number of requests for photos of the younger, Minor League players. I tried to focus on that request today. The photos of the outfielders were taken during the baserunning drill. The photos of the infielders were taken during the popup drill. The photos of the pitchers were taken during the live batting practice.

I have not seen any noticible limping from Barry Bonds. Of course he really hasn't run hard yet either. I don't think he has gotten used to his knee brace yet, though. He doesn't limp, but he sort of drags the leg that has the brace a little bit. I have read in the media that the brace is a large cumbersome contraption. I am not so sure that is 100% correct. While the brace is visible through Bonds' pants leg, you have to be looking for it and he has to be in the right position for it to be easily visible. The press has also remarked how slowly Bonds moves around the field, but anyone who has ever seen Bonds around the park will tell you he has always walked very slowly when he doesn't have to exert himself. I really don't see much difference in the way Bonds walks now as opposed to the way he walked a couple of years ago. As an aside, Moises Alou is another player who has always moved very slowly from place to place . If Bonds and Alou had a race walking from the field to the batting cages.....I'm not sure who would win. Their slowness is not age or injury related though, they both have always walked as slowly as molasses in January.

I continue to be surprised at the number of fans present each day. I imagine it is because it is MUCH more comfortable for the fans to watch practice at Scottsdale Stadium than it was at Indian School Park. The fans are also closer to the players at Scottsdale Stadium. It really is a good time for an avid baseball fan.

8 comments:

dastick said...

thanks for the great detail, Hank.

Impressed by anyone in particular? (not named barry, of course)

Giantfan9 said...

The biggest surprise for me (so far) has been Todd Greene. I don't see any way that he will not be the backup catcher.

Marc said...

Hank,

Great write-ups eachday. I enjoy coming to the site and checking out the ST updates. As for Greene, he has always been a solid dead read hitter. The man can hit the fastball, lets just hope he adjusts to the off speed pitches and produces for teh G-Men in 2006. He will be a viable backup for Matheny.

-Marc

mameluke said...

Totally jealous, Hank. *sigh*

I think I'll have to make it to a game or two in about a month. And after that, Opening Day in San Diego.

Couldn't come sooner.

Teh Neifi Chicken said...

It is truly great that you keep updating in such detail and good photo's as you do (not proper grammar)

It truly is a joy to visit this site to get the lowdown on what's going on for those of us that can't be there.

On a side note, nice to see someone who I assume is up in age (the retirement) who is not afraid of the internet.


As for Greene, he's always had massive power, it's breaking balls low and away that give him fits. Power has never been the problem for him, when we see more breaking balls we'll be able to see why he's a backup. Still, I'd take him over Knoedler/Haad/Alfonzo

DrBGiantsfan said...

When I look through those pics today, there is one glaring omission. Wheretheheck is Eddy Martinez-Esteve? Do you get to see any of the minor league camp? Man, if Bowker, Horwitz and Sandoval are in the major league camp, I've got to believe that Eddy is either injured or the Giants are sending him a loud, loud message about his fielding and attitude.

Giantfan9 said...

EME is not on the 40-man roster, nor is he on the list of 29 non-roster invitees to camp. I have no idea why. Also missing is Marcus Sanders, but I figure that is because of his off-season surgery (again). The Minor League camp, at Indian School Park, doesn't start until March 2nd. Since Spring Training games start on the 3rd...it is highly unlikely I will be spending much (if any) time there.

DrBGiantsfan said...

Eddy didn't need protection from Rule 5 this year. With 29 non roster initees, the only reason I can think of why he's not in camp is he's still recovering from that foot injury or something.