Home > Interact > Blog

Working It Out

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Training Workouts

On Tuesday we got off to a late start, and arrived at the ballpark a little after 9:00, right around the time that the team should be taking the field.  But instead, the players were nowhere to be found – even the orange cones that normally line the agility field had not been set up, and rumors abounded.  First we heard there was some kind of media event going on inside the park.  Then we heard that they weren’t coming outside to practice all day today.  Then we heard that they might come out around 11:00.  It wasn’t until we got home that night that we heard the real explanation – they were working on drills inside the stadium, off-limits to fans.  The drills involved playing caroms off the replica Green Monster and the positioning of the cut-off men.  (We had heard that in addition to the stadium one of the practice fields would have the same dimensions as Fenway, including a Green Monster, which I thought was an ingenious plan when building the new complex.  However, when we got here we saw that the practice field “Monster” is a 37-foot high chain-link fence with a green tarp over it.  That of course makes it completely useless as far as learning to play the caroms is concerned, meaning that any practicing they do for that skill has to take place inside where we can’t see them.)  Happily, the whole team did come out at 10:45, and went through all the normal drills.

Clayton Mortensen - the pitcher acquired in the Marco Scutaro trade - jumps rope during practice.

Clayton Mortensen - the pitcher acquired in the Marco Scutaro trade - jumps rope during practice.

We watched infield practice for a while, then some live B.P. where Carlos Silva was throwing to Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez.  In all of these sessions, Bobby Valentine proved he’s a very hands-on manager.  He makes his way quickly to all the drills, barking instructions (”Make David dive into foul territory”, “Ten more just like that and then switch”, “This is for ‘us’, not for me”) and ending with encouragement (”What do you think fans, is this the best infield in baseball?”).

Jacoby Ellsbury took part in a bunting drill.

Jacoby Ellsbury took part in a bunting drill.

Then I headed back up to Field 1, where several players, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Cody Ross, were practicing bunting.  They were working three at a time – one at home plate, one at first base, and one at third – with different coaches throwing.  Big Papi admired Gonzalez’s form, but joked about not liking to bunt himself.  When his turn came, he bunted one, then stepped back and said “I’m done!” with a big laugh, before continuing on with his session.  The following video shows the rest of his turn, with him getting into it at the end and the crowd urging him along.

After the bunting practice, they switched to regular B.P.  It does seem that this year’s camp is moving much faster than the other years I’ve been coming, with the players involved in more drills and switching around a lot more.  By the end of practice, the players are tired!

The players take a break at the end of practice.

The players take a break at the end of practice.

Usually batting practice is the last thing the players do before heading in for the day, but this year several of the infielders – including some of the big names like Youkilis, Pedroia, and Gonzalez – have been staying out even longer to do some more infield drills.  While they worked on Field 3, we watched Carl Crawford on Field 4.  He’s recovering from wrist surgery, so he’s not cleared to take full swings yet, but he was working on bunting with Valentine as the instructor.  Bobby V. was again very involved, not just speaking but acting out things like where the bat should be placed after the bunt so the player won’t trip on it.  Only time will tell whether all these new drills and lessons will pay off (like working on pickoffs with Jon Lester or baserunning with Jose Iglesias) or if it’s just meddling or a “P.R. move”, but I think the telling thing is that the veteran players are buying into it and staying late to keep working.  That’s got to be a good thing!  Another good thing is that when Crawford finished up, he came over to sign some autographs, the only one I picked up today.

Carl Crawford signs autographs after practice.

Carl Crawford signs autographs after practice.

When Crawford went in, we went back over to Field 3 to see the end of infield practice.  The session ended with Bobby V. calling young shortstop Jose Iglesias over to chat with him.  From what I could hear, the conversation was centered around Iglesias’s slick fielding, and how he’s so quick to get to the ball but he needs to slow down a little and pay attention to where the second baseman is before he throws.  (I was also impressed with how quickly Iglesias has learned to speak very good English.)  The other coaches were listening in too, and when they were done Valentine turned to the fans and said, “How about a hand for Jerry Royster, one of the best infield coaches.”  (Royster will be the third base coach this year, and is working with the infielders this spring.)

Jose Iglesias talks with coaches Tim Bogar and Jerry Royster and manager Bobby Valentine.

Shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias talks with coaches Tim Bogar and Jerry Royster and manager Bobby Valentine.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and will be posted after they are approved.

HomeDepartmentsFeaturesArchivesMore InfoInteractSearch
www.RedSoxDiehard.com RedSoxDiehard.comRandom page
E-mail the webmasterPost to Message Board


www.redsoxdiehard.com
This page copyright © 2008-2016 by Kristen D. Cornette.