Talked with Gibby while he was hitting Fungo’s (practice grounders named after the thin handle bat used to hit them) to Reyes.
“You know how they have pitchers hit those to fielders during batting practice in Triple A? ” I asked.
“Yep.” said Gibby, swinging away.
“I was banned from doing it since I broke a Fungo about once a week. coaches hated me.”
“Sounds like a good way of getting out of doing it, if you ask me.” Said Gibby, smiling.
I like Gibby.
Jack Morris and I have been chatting it up a lot. Jack told me a member of the press once asked him if he’d throw batting practice to him. Jack said this journalist wanted to be able to tell his friends he got a hit off the great Jack Morris. Something to brag about.
Jack drilled the journalist on the first pitch. Go brag about that.
I like Jack.
Caught up with Brett Cecil. He did the mystical Steve Delabar weighted ball training regimin this off season. Says he’s feeling stronger, like the ball has more zip. Says it increased his flat ground throwing speed by about 7 mph—that’s with a crow-hop into a net. Off the mound, it may not translate 1 – 1, but any improvement is great. I told him if it works, I’m going to make a comeback.
In a conversation with Tony Lacava about my career change and coming Blue Jays book, I said if Delabar and Cecil have All-Star years, I’m coming back and I want a job. He said that if I find a way to throw 96, he’ll find one for me.
Watching Romero throw makes me scratch my head. He doesn’t get full extension on his throws, but, then again, he never has. I think he cuts his delivery off a little, and I think it may cost his body some wear and tear. He looks like he’s throwing a heavier object than a baseball.
The body is a system. If his knees are bothering him and he changes anything about his delivery to compensate it could have a domino effect on the rest of his body as other muscle groups pick up the load. That’s how some players become perennially injured. One muscle goes, it pushes more work on others until they go… Moral of the story: don’t get hurt.
Tough to say if Ricky will break. Chances are he will since chances are all baseball players will. He’s starting to log a lot of innings now, and I hope his body holds up. But, over time, all the little imperfections in your delivery become exploited by wear and tear. This is a big year for him, and I know he’s a warrior, but the body can only do so much.
Shook JP’s hand today. I’ve done that as a Major Leaguer to a Minor Leaguer. A Pitcher to a Catcher live in a game. A Ray to a Jay. Unemployed to a Major Leaguer. And now a broadcaster to a Major Leaguer. He seemed happy and upbeat. He’ll be Buehrle’s primary catcher and the Buehrle will put him through his paces. Last year, before JP’s injury, he was the veteran presence in the battery. This year he’ll be the young guy again and should learn a lot. I know he’d like to catch everyday, and he could, but he needs to improve at calling the game. He catches like a DH sometimes. Buehrle should help with that.
There is a lot of energy in the clubhouse, but there is also a lot of silence. Lots of guys in camp know they have no job in the big leagues. That makes it hard to get excited. So, yes, while the incumbants are chattering and slapping asses, there are a lot of faces that are smiling sideways since they know their future is in Triple A. On another club they might crack the bigs. Not here. Not with so much payroll, projection, and expectation. However, their roles will be crucial as the season pours out. The difference betweens teams that take it wire to wire is their back ups. Of course, most backups don’t care to be back ups. They want big league time wherever they can get it. It’ll be interesting to see how many take their outs this year.