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Wrapping Up

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers

Spring Training Workout

After playing the college doubleheader on Monday, it was back to a workout on Tuesday for the final time this year.  It was technically an unofficial workout, so the concession and souvenir stands were closed, but fans were still able to enter the complex and see what was going on.  With minor league camp in progress, the major leaguers were confined to three fields, with everyone who’s slated to be on the Opening Day roster ending the day by taking batting practice inside the stadium, where we can’t go.  But we did get to see them all briefly, albeit in some of the stranger drills of the spring, and were able to add to our autographs.

When the catchers finished their initial stretching they all went to one of the practice fields.  I thought there was going to be some sort of fielding drill, but instead it was literally practicing walking out to the mound as if to talk to a struggling pitcher.  “You’re in control of the game,” directed one coach.  “Wait, who was that smiling?” chided another.  Then they all walked back off the field and on to the next activity.  It’s pretty much the silliest drill I’ve ever seen at spring training, topping even the sliding drill and parachute run.  (But it got me thinking – shouldn’t they have a drill where the pitchers practice standing on the mound hanging their heads in shame after giving up a home run?  Or, for even more entertainment, have the manager practice taking the ball from a pitcher who doesn’t want to leave the game – imagine watching that during the Schilling era!  But I digress…)

The Catcher Walk.

Perfecting the Catcher Walk.

The next activity for the catchers was Story Hour, apparently.  They all sat cross-legged on the ground and listened to bullpen coach Dana LeVangie, while Torey Lovullo and Jason Varitek looked on.

The next activity for the catchers was Story Hour, apparently. They all sat cross-legged on the ground and listened to bullpen coach Dana LeVangie, while Torey Lovullo and Jason Varitek looked on.

That's right, I said Jason Varitek. The former Captain was there working with the catchers.  And he had his glove with him wherever he went, ready to go if needed.  Here, he talks with Pawtuket hitting coach and fellow former catcher, Rich Gedman.

That's right, I said Jason Varitek. The former Captain was in camp working with the catchers. And he had his glove with him wherever he went, ready to go if needed. Here, he talks with Pawtucket hitting coach and fellow former catcher, Rich Gedman.

Third base coach Brian Butterfield waves in Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in a baserunning drill.  Butterfield would call out the number of outs and players had to practice tagging up and scoring.

Third base coach Brian Butterfield waves in Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in a baserunning drill. Butterfield would call out the number of outs and players had to practice tagging up, scoring, and not bumping into each other.

Travis Shaw rounds third in the baserunning drill.

Travis Shaw rounds third in the baserunning drill.

A picture of Big Papi, because this is my last chance to see him in Spring Training action.

A picture of Big Papi, because this is my last chance to see him in Spring Training action.

Next it was time for my former favorite drill, sliding on sheets of black pastic that look like a Slip'n Slide. Here's David Murphy sliding in under the watchful eye of Dwight Evans. Murphy had been drafted by the Red Sox in 2003, made his debut in Boston in 2006, and then was traded to the Texas Rangers as part of the deal for Eric Gagne at the trade deadline in '07.  Since then he's played with the Rangers, Indians, and Angels, and he just signed back on with the Red Sox yesterday.

Next it was time for my other favorite drill, sliding into bases attached to sheets of black plastic that look like a Slip'N Slide. Here's David Murphy sliding in under the watchful eye of Dwight Evans. Murphy had been drafted by the Red Sox in 2003, made his M.L. debut with Boston in 2006, and then was traded to Texas as part of the deal for Eric Gagne at the trade deadline in '07. Since then he's played with the Rangers, Indians, and Angels, and he just signed back on with the Red Sox yesterday.

After the sliding was complete, the players who will start the year in the majors headed in to the stadium for batting practice, which unfortunately meant we couldn’t watch. But the guys who will likely start in Triple A stayed on the practice field to take B.P. out there.

New General Manager Mike Hazen watched batting practice and chatted with bench coach Torey Lovullo.

New General Manager Mike Hazen watched batting practice and chatted with bench coach Torey Lovullo.

Second base prospect Sean Coyle waits for his turn in batting practice.  After they were doen, he took the time to sign autographs, as did Lovullo, Gedman, and non-roster invitees Brennan Boesch and Ryan LaMarre.

Second base prospect Sean Coyle waits for his turn in batting practice. After they were done, he took the time to sign autographs, as did Lovullo, Gedman, and non-roster invitees Brennan Boesch and Ryan LaMarre.

With the workouts all wrapped up and the weather finally hot, we went back to Englewood Beach in the afternoon.  This time it was warm enough to go in the water, and scour the beach in search of the perfect shells.

Englewood Beach is great for shelling.

It was a great day for shell-hunting at Englewood Beach.

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