A Rainy, Cold Weekend
By Maxx Tissenbaum
Rainy and cold. Typically these two words aren’t associated with spring training in Arizona, but Mother Nature managed to send both our way. On Friday before our workout the staff asked us if we’d all be around on the weekend, since in prior weeks, weekends were optional. Since everyone was planning on staying local, they had the minor league position players come in on the weekend to help out the Big League pitchers by standing in on their bullpens.
Early in camp the focus is on the pitchers, making sure that they’re on schedule for their appearances in the Cactus League or Grapefruit League games (depending on where Spring Training is). Their progression normally starts out with just flat ground work, then gets into bullpen sessions before they ever have a hitter “stand in,” and those first stand in sessions generally are just to give them a bit more of a true visual for pitching. It allows the pitchers to see the catchers set up in relation to the hitter, and allows them to start seeing the strike zone in relation to hitters. So we got to be the stand in guys this weekend. It’s helpful for us because it gets our eyes tuned up to closer to game speed, and we get to work on timing our load or leg kick.
On Saturday I watched as my former Stone Crab teammate German Marquez threw his session, and also bumped into Scott Oberg who I played with during my freshman year summer in Lowell. It was nice to see those guys in addition to watching guys like Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood, Jake McGee etc get their work. It was cool watching Nolan Arenado tracking and doing some cage work on Saturday too. It’s crazy watching a guy like that, who can walk into the cage and just pepper the back of the cage with lasers.
Both days were short workouts, but valuable for a few reasons. First, it’s always better TO HIT than not to hit. Keeping consistent in my hitting work is critical, because the more days off I take, the more likely I am to be slightly off. Second, it’s great to start seeing live pitches so early! Minor League Spring Training doesn’t even start until March 3, so this is a major head start. Even if it’s only 15-20 pitches it’s at least a good warmup for my eyes and my hitting brain, getting used to reacting to the release point, and recognizing spin again.
Today was another short day as the fields dried out, but I was able to get a total body lift in this morning. I’m starting to get more comfortable with the movements, and the approach to the training, so it’s starting to get easier. I’m currently hanging out and starting on a GoPro MEGA VIDEO from the road trip out to Arizona, but my computer doesn’t seem to like me trying to do so many things at once. Tomorrow is a big bullpen day, and hopefully we’ll be back on the fields for batting practice, so we can see the ball fly a bit!