Tuesday, March 1, 2011
LOCKED IN WITH DREW #1
March 1, 2011 from Kissimmee, Florida:
by Drew Locke
Welcome to the first installment of LOCKED IN WITH DREW. I will try and give you an inside look at Spring Training. Camp has been a great experience so far. Pitchers and catchers reported on February 16. That was also the first day of voluntary workouts for position players. We got a few quality workouts in and got our feet under us a bit. No matter how much you work out in the off-season, the legs and feet are going to be sore the first couple days. Players always say the best way to prepare for spring training is to put a new pair of cleats on and stand in your backyard for four hours at a time.
The first week included team meetings, fundamentals, defensive work, batting practice, and the dreaded “live batting practice.” This drill involves pitchers, throwing to hitters on the field simulating a game atmosphere. Pitchers are usually ahead of hitters at the beginning of spring training, so there aren’t many hitters that are excited to jump in the box. I had the opportunity to face recent Rule 5 Draft selection Aneury Rodriguez, Dougie Arguello, and Henry Villar during the first few days.
After about a week of that, we had an intra-squad game. Koby Clemens won the MVP for the second straight year as he went 3-3 with a homerun. J.B. Shuck was visibly upset after the game as he also went 3-3 but was not on the winning team.
Actual Spring Training games started on Monday when the team traveled to the Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney. The starters usually get about three at bats each game, and then the backups come in and finish out the game. T.J. Steele came in as a defensive replacement for Michael Bourn, and hurt his elbow diving for the first ball hit to him. However, he stayed in the game and ended up going 2-2. I have had the opportunity of relieving Carlos Lee of base running duty in both games so far. I am sure he appreciates it.
Now that the games are underway, spring training is going to start flying by. I believe we have seven games in the next five days. It may sound busy, but playing in games is really the only way to get ready for the season. There are no drills that can gear you up for a guy that wants nothing else but to get you out. The more game at bats a player gets, the more comfortable he is going to feel.
One other item of note: My friends from back home and I had our annual fantasy baseball draft Saturday night. I ended up taking three or four Astros on my team, so hopefully they can help my team take home the championship. Hunter Pence has been looking really good in camp so far, so I had to take him. I have a good feeling he is in for a monster year!
That’s about all I've got for this installment. I will try and check back in every week and give updates and a little bit of insight in the world of professional baseball. If you have any questions, you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try and answer some of them next time I check in.
Posted by farmstros at 10:46 PM