Friday, February 22, 2008

“Back” At It

Well, my back allowed me to make it to the park today. Cloudy skies and rain returned to the Valley of the Sun and the temperature was back to 8-10 degrees below normal for this time of year. It sprinkled during the last 45 minutes of the practice. I tell you my aching back does much better in the warm sunshine than it does in the cool dampness.

Interesting day today. Two of the three players who were supposed to have minor dings and dents participated today. I did not see Bengie Molina at all, but Rich Aurilia and Omar Vizquel had a full day. Aurilia and Vizquel both took extra infield…..that was a first this year for Omar. I didn't see any signs of limping or other problems, but after the first round of batting practice, I heard Fred Lewis ask Omar "How's it feeling today "O"?" Omar did not reply but shook his head "no", indicating that it wasn't good.

Same drill as far as batting practice goes. As in the previous days, there was one live round off of pitchers and one round of traditional batting practice with the coaches throwing. The pitchers are still ahead of the batters……but the line drives are starting to come. There were no HRs in the live batting practice, but the balls are starting to reach the wall and warning track on occasion. During the traditional batting practice, the batters showed much quicker bats today. Aaron Rowand hit 2 HRs, both to straight away left field. One of them was hit WAY up near the top of the grass berm, for the longest of the day. Guillermo Rodriguez hit one too, but I think that was just about it for the veterans.

The group pictured above is my favorite group to watch hit. This photo was taken in the first round of live pitching. For some reason, the groups change slightly and the catchers all bat together during the second round, so Eliezer Alfonzo is not in this group for traditional BP. Besides hitting a ton of line drives…Kevin Frandsen, Daniel Ortmeier, Nate Schierholtz and Fred Lewis seem to be having a lot of fun. Whenever a ball gets hit hard, you can hear them all start shouting "that one has a chance" and "get up get up ball". Things like that. The kids bring life to the team. They are a joy to watch. Frandsen and Ortmeier are particularly loud and demonstrative. During today's traditional BP…….Lewis and Schierholtz each had 2 HRs and Ortmeier and Frandsen each had 1. One of Lewis' HRS hit off the facing on the patio above the RF bullpens, a pretty good poke. They were all line drives and with the exception of the one Lewis hit…..they all cleared the fence by 2-4 feet on a line.

I am sure due to Molina's injury, catcher Stephen Holm got the chance to take BP with the big boys. He did well, and was hitting most pitches on a line. Likewise, Eugenio Velez joined the vets on the main field for BP today. Velez replaced Ivan Ochoa in group #2. Eugenio was doing what he has always done when I see him play….slapping the ball around and through the infield and hitting balls that would be just over the infielders heads to pretty much every field.

The pickoff/rundown drills were pretty interesting too. However, I would say this is the first time I have seen Ortmeier not look like a seasoned firstbaseman. He had a little trouble determining when and where to throw the ball…….especially on the pickoff to 1B when men are on 1st and 3rd. Physically, Daniel was fine……his throws were strong and accurate…….but there was too much hesitation. I'm not too worried though. It's all new to him and JT Snow was right there to correct him every time he made a misstep. Kevin Frandsen was showing how much better his arm is than Ray Durham's. On one of the men on 1st and 3rd pickoffs, Kevin was running the runner back to 1B, when the runner from third broke home. Kevin tagged the runner he was chasing, and then while running toward 1B and without breaking stride, he got a throw off to home to nail the runner there. Even though it was a snap throw with nothing but arm…….the throw was a SEED that was right on target. I have watched Kevin play a lot and I know he has a good arm….but that throw even surprised me.

Robb Nen, JT Snow and Shawon Dunston were all in camp today. I don't think I have seen Daniel Ortmeier where he was more than 10-15 feet away from Snow since Snow got here. Snow always has his glove and is very much into giving physical demonstrations where as the other two seem to provide their advice verbally. Shawon Dunston was out in LF shagging balls during part of batting practice. For whatever reason, the right handed batters were all hitting the other way. Dunston started shouting "Hey, hit one to me", "Over here", "come on pull the damn ball". It was funny, but I wanted to tell him that Giants hitters HAVE been pulling the ball. They have been pulling the ball too much. I, for one, am glad they are taking BP to the opposite field. When lefty Dave Roberts came up Dunston said "Now I know I can get one out here". So what did Roberts do? Yep, you guessed it…..first pitch…….pulled to RF. Dunston just let out a squeal. Finally, he got some balls hit his way. He actually did a pretty good job of running them down. By the way…Dunston has a heck of a voice. I was in the 1B box seats…...he was in medium deep LF and I good hear him quite clearly.

That's it for today. Good day despite the weather. Of course, it's always a good day at the ballpark.


zito4cyyoung said...

The kids are going to make a miserable season tolerable.

J.T. will manage someday!

Lars said...

Great to see you back in action, GF9. Take care of yourself.

Oh, and btw, it is going to pour buckets all over California starting Saturday. I expect a good portion of that is going to reach Arizona.

Giantfan9 said...

Hey Lars.....I hope not. The forecast shows 71 tomorrow, 75, 75, 77, etc.......No rain in the 15 day forecast and only 1 day under 70 through March 7th. So I am rooting for the weatherman!!!

sfgreg said...

Hey GF9, great job on the blog once again. Quick question, in today' Chronicle it said John Bowker was taking some grounders at first, have you seen this?

Thanks again for the great blog!

Anonymous said...

thanks for keeping us posted as usual I do have a request though if their around you could you snap a few of Madison bumgarner, tim alderson, nick noonan and charlie culberson? thanks i also have another question where exactly do the minor leaguers practice I'm wondering since I'll be there in a month and wish to see the minor leaguers.

Clint said...

Angel Villalona, can you get some pics of this kid for me?

Giantfan9 said... I haven't seen Bowker take any grounders at 1B. Of course I haven't seen him do anything much on the main field. He is one of those youngsters who is mostly relegated to the practice field.

Giantfan9 said...

RE: Bumgartner, Alderson, Noonan, Culberson and Villalona.

None of those guys are in the Major League camp. I stick with the Major League camp and rarely go to the Minor League camp.

If they show up to Scottsdale Stadium for any reason, I will try and get their I did with Bond and Sosa yesterday.

The Minor League facility is located about 2 miles away at Indian School Park on Hayden Rd between Indian School and Camelback.