As these early days of spring training roll on, it’s more of the “same old, same old” of pitchers fielding drills, batting practice and other drills. It’s hard to really write a narrative of the activities like it is a game. So I will give you these photos:
Sorry for the absence over the last 10 days or so. I had to have a procedure done on my “Frankenfoot” that required rest. On the plus side, I’m able to walk now, the best since I sprained it and broke a bone just 10 days before spring training began.
Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year…the day that minor league pitchers and catchers report. Additionally, the majority of the position players are here already. I’ve known some of these guys for more than five years so it’s great to see some of my friends again.
Matt Hockenberry, who pitched for the Threshers last season, is now a pitching coach for one of the two Gulf Coast League teams the Phillies will be fielding this year. I love this picture as the pitchers are all former colleagues of Hockenberry’s and it’s good to see them all enjoying a laugh together before the work begins. Also in the picture from left to right: Tyler Viza, Alberto Tirado, Alexis Rivero, Garrett Clevenger, Luke Leftwich and Jacob Waguespack in the red shirt.
I took a lot of pictures all around camp yesterday as they are all during drills, there’s not much to say as the pictures speak for themselves:
Today was the first day that the entire major league team was due to report. Things are quite different under the Kapler regime are very different. Whereas they had previously started at 9 and went to about noon, now it starts “around” 11 and goes after 2.
Today, my friend Jose Taveras pitched live batting practice for the major league time since making the 40 man roster.
I was able to catch most of the big names as well:
Today was SOS-Same Old Situation, more of the same PFPs (pitcher fielding practice), catcher drills, bunting practice for the pitchers and batting practice for the catchers.
There was a fairly sizable crowd today. They still haven’t opened up Spectrum Field to the public to watch batting practice for the position players. Baseball Ross is such a dedicated blogger, he had his camera up against the gates to get a few shots.
So I stayed at the Carpenter Complex to get a few shots of my own:
There has been much made about Manager Gabe Kapler’s “start at 11” change to spring training. We didn’t rush and arrived at 10:30 and found that they had started at 10! Not only that, it was the annual golf outing so they would be quitting early as well.
So in here are the highlights of what little practice we got to see:
We’ll be back at it tomorrow…
This afternoon, Baseball Ross and I were able to see new Phillies Manager, Gabe Kapler speak to the fans after practice. Kapler came over after speaking to the media at Spectrum field.
He was friendly and seemed to enjoy interacting with the crowd that was assembled. He answered questions as well as took selfies and signed autographs.
His attitude was much different than the way he is portrayed in the media and frankly, I think like the guy. He was asked “Tell us the truth, what do you think?” and Kapler replied:
“Well, right now I felt absolutely felt nothing but support. So I feel supported, is probably the easiest way to put it. And also know that the fans expect us to be accountable, they expect us to bust our balls out there and to give everything we have. And that’s easy. It doesn’t require any effort. And just like the city of Boston where I played for a couple of years, you care about intensity and fight and determination and grit. And then obviously you expect us to win. We understand those expectations and expect to beat them.”
Sounds like a good plan to me. I recorded the interaction and you can watch it HERE.
I must admit, I may have just put one foot on the Kapler bandwagon. He took time with everyone there and seems to have a good grip on what the team needs to do. His methods are different, practice starts at 11 instead of 9, the atmosphere is more relaxed. Only time will tell if his changes will pan out. I’m kind of excited to see if it meet our “expectations” and if they “beat them.”
Today I followed a group of pitchers through their regimen. JD Hammer, Ranger Suarez, Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Taveras.
From bunting practice to a series of PFPs (pitchers fielding practices) I followed them to get an idea of the “flavor” of these early days of spring training.
Sorry for the late hour but my phone crashed and I spent 4 hours recovering it. Whew!