Sunday, February 28, 2010
"This Is Serious Business"--Day Three Full Squad Workouts
"This is serious business," pointed out Our Manager Jim Riggleman. "There comes a time in most every game when you can help yourself at the plate. Being a good bunter is important to what you do for this team."
Nearly all 35 pitchers in Spring Training Camp for Our Washington Nationals were sitting and standing around home plate on Field Number 4 this morning. Day Three Of Full Squad Workouts happened to be Photo Day. Everyone was completely attired in Washington's Home Uniform to meet with a photographer for Media Guide, Yearbook, Scoreboard and Promotional use. But the picture Riggleman wanted to keep fresh in these hurlers' minds was they all must be able to lay down a sacrifice bunt when called upon. A game day strategy of importance in The National League where the pitcher is included in the batting order.
For nearly 25 minutes, Jim Riggleman went over situation after situation. He explained proper technique. He emphasized the importance bunting is to winning ball games. In fact, Our Manager conducted a tutoring session that The African Queen and I had never seen previously during our Spring Training Camp visits. An on-the-field classroom where the teacher was getting his finer points across to his students.
Nice to see.
With players shuffling in and out of practice to attend their picture times with the photographer(s), there was not much action around the practice fields near Space Coast Stadium. Hitting Instructor Rick Eckstein and New First Base Coach Dan Radison held the complete infield/outfield drill--knocking fungo after fungo shot around Field Number 1. There was some batting practice with a few players, pitchers worked on conditioning and Livan Hernandez threw his bullpen session. After that, not much else. By 11AM, most of the players had left the fields to head back to the clubhouse. 45 minutes later, just a few stragglers remained.
Other items of interest:
Non-roster invitee Chris Duncan is an interesting person to watch. The left-handed power hitting outfielder/first baseman (yes, he's taking reps at 1st base this week too) has a very nice swing. Being feed nothing but fastballs by the BP Pitcher this morning, Duncan showed the ability to spray to all fields and excellent power--knocking four pitches well over the the fences on Field Number 2. In the video above, Duncan stands tall in the batters box, cocks his arms on the delivery and slightly lifts in front right leg in preparing to swing. Ryan Zimmerman slightly lifts his left front leg as well--but more dramatically--when The Z-Man is hitting from the right handed side of the batters box. When Chris Duncan went deep, he had released his rear left hand off the bat and had extended with his right hand.
With the players wearing their home uniforms for the first time in 2010, Rick Eckstein stood out because he has switched his number from 18 to 14--Manny Acta's former uniform number. Eckstein, the hardest working coach in camp (in our opinion), again back with his trusty video camera taping every single swing of every single player that steps to the plate on Field Number 1. No one seems to make themselves available more than Eck. Today, he was seen engaged in a rather long discussion with Pudge Rodriguez over Ivan's early season hitting.
Reliever Tyler Walker--free agent signee coming over from The Philadelphia Phillies--HUGE!! Big Dude!! Slightly smaller in size than Jonathan Broxton of The Los Angeles Dodgers.
New 1st Base Coach Dan Radison has quite the sense of humor. He's already developing a new nickname for Sohna and since our first day of arriving--has made the effort each day to come over and chat. "You like the tall men--don't you?" He chuckled to The African Queen--while looking over at me. Then proceeded to kneel down and take this photo. At first, we actually had no idea who he was, but Dan Radison has had a big smile on his face every single day we've attended Spring Training Camp for Our Washington Nationals and has shown a terrific sense of humor.
That pleasantness which Justin Maxwell always has possessed. One of the most well-grounded baseball players we have ever met--The African Queen and I are hoping that 2010 is a breakout season for J-Max. He has the talent. Maxwell just needs to put it all together.
Finally, Sohna and I had the great pleasure to meet Amber & Sam from Social Circle, Georgia. A one-stop light town between Atlanta and Savannah--according to the couple. They were long-time Los Angeles Dodger Fans that lost their Spring Training Team when The Dodgers moved to Arizona two years ago. Last season, they drove down to Viera to check out Our Washington Nationals. Loved the access and friendliness of everyone in camp. Ended up watching many of Washington's 2009 games on MASN and thanked us for providing a fun fans' perspective at Nats320 on the team we've all come to enjoy. Nice folks. We hope to see Amber & Sam at Nationals Park sometime over the next six months.
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