Fascinating day in Jays land. Watched the team knock the rust off. Caught up with some old teammates, friends, and coaches. Took a few pics on the side and made some notes…
Mark Buehrle is painterly with his curve ball. Made a lot of hitters look silly on it, but that’s to be expected this time of year as hitters are still finding their rhythm at the plate. Adjusting to fastballs and change-ups is hard enough. When you mix in some deceptive breaking stuff like Buehrle has, well, it’s just not fair.
Jose didn’t look like he was trying to murder the ball during BP, which is fine. He’s looking at repeating his swing and making solid contact—a good place for him to be this early, and still recovering from surgery. He’s not taking the angry, vicious hacks I saw from him in the All-Star game. Whether that’s him pacing himself or being tentative, time will tell. He, Melky, and Edwin did have a consistant, playful, and instructive banter going on. They seem to coach each other, like a squad of soldiers looking over each other and encouraging one another. Very unique, even among baseball players. They have bought into helping one another and it’s spreading through the clubhouse. The team is vocal and receptive to one another.
Sergio Santos’ delivery looks strong. He’s forceful to the plate and the ball is popping when it gets there. He seems to have made a strong recovery and isn’t holding back, even early on. He’ll be a ready for spring—not just because a piece of medical report paper says he is, but because he’s testing his tolerances and finding no reasons to hold back. He trusts his arm again and you can see it.
Chad Beck, who could see some action as a 5th starter if Romero’s knees go south on him, is both fun and hard to watch pitch. Fun because he’s talented and this could be his big breakout year (one man’s misfortune is another’s fortune—such is baseball), hard because his mechanics look painful to me. His hip seems to have trouble fully rotating, which may be linked to his back foot not turning over fully… together they seem to force him into a tall armslot and heavy head tilt (meaning he’s looking at the plate as if he’s laying down upon delivery— a perception factor that can occasionally lead to command issues). I doubt it will effect him if it hasn’t already. Besides, good mechanics and bad mechanics are adjectives given to whichever pair of mechanics is winning or losing at the moment.
Reyes looks happy. Then again, he always looks happy.
Jeff Blair looks surly. Then again, he always looks surly.