Ft. Myers, Day 2
Monday, February 23 – Spring Training Workouts, Ft. Myers
Another early morning wakeup call, and another trip to the Red Sox minor league complex for Spring Training workouts. It was chillier than yesterday as we waited for the players to take the field at 9 am. As they made their way out to practice, I managed to get Dustin Pedroia’s autograph as well as one from pitching prospect Daniel Bard. When they take the field, they all stretch together for a while on Field 2. I went up to the back of the grandstand of an adjacent field to get some pictures looking down on them. Here’s a panoramic shot of the complex. (Click the picture to enlarge.)
After stretching, they split up. On my way to see what was going on in the different fields, I saw Luis Tiant signing, and went over to get an autograph from the iconic Red Sox pitcher.
Later in the day, Johnny Pesky arrived in camp, set up a chair, and signed hundreds of autographs, all the while chatting and reminiscing with everyone, posing for pictures, shaking hands, kissing babies, and just generally being a Red Sox legend.
I made my way to Field 3, where I found out I had missed getting Mike Lowell’s autograph (which would have been perfect on my photo with the 2007 World Series trophy, since he was the series MVP) while I was taking photos from the grandstand. But both my parents got him, with my father even telling him how we stood in Copley Square for the Rolling Rally chanting “Re-sign Lowell” to everyone who passed.
On Field 3, the infielders were doing their drills. Two different coaches were hitting grounders to the different positions, with the fielders rotating who gloved each one. Big Papi (who is definitely ready for the 9 interleague road games by now) and Brad Wilkerson were at first. Dustin Pedroia and Nick Green shared duties at second. Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie battled it out at short. And it was nice to see Lowell back at third with Kevin Youkilis after a day off.
They were later joined by the catchers, pitchers, and a bunch of kids called up from minor league camp to serve as baserunners. This drill involved everyone except for outfielders, and worked on covering bases and picking off runners. The pitchers took turns going to the mound and getting ready to throw, and then the baserunners would take off, and everyone would have to cover the right bases to get them out. A lot of the players just go through the motions, but Youk was operating at full throttle, chasing down the would-be basestealers as if it were the ninth inning of a playoff game – which is the way he goes about everything… with the possible exception of shaving, of course.
After that, the players split back up again. We stayed at Field 3 to watch Jonathan Papelbon throw his first live B.P. of the spring. Speaking of players who are at maximum intensity at all times, Paps was doing his usual intimidating closer stare, even standing behind the batting practice screen facing non-roster invitees Carlos Maldonado and Ivan Ochoa.
Papelbon was followed by Brad Penny. Meanwhile, over on Field 2, Rocco Baldelli and some other players practiced bunting. A coach fed baseballs into a pitching machine, while the players practiced their bunts. David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Julio Lugo looked on in amusement. Here’s a quick video of Rocco taking a few practice bunts:
The position players finished up with some “real” B.P. – hitting against coaches’ soft lobs instead of their teammates’ best stuff. I watched Big Papi, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, and Jason Bay take some swings on Field 4.
We’ll be back again tomorrow for the final workout of the spring. (As much as I love going to the workouts, I guess it’s a good thing they’re coming to an end. This getting up early routine, along with a lot of standing around, has made me exhausted!)