In Arizona, baseball season starts at 5:30 a.m. That's when Diamondbacks coaches gather in the weight room at Salt River Fields for their morning workout. "If one of our coaches isn't there, there will be pictures taken of their empty locker," third-base coach Matt Williams said. "And those pictures will be posted in the training room every morning." Just like last season, sweaty coaches will be the first thing the Diamondbacks see when they arrive for work in the morning. It's a striking visual, and in 2011, it helped reshape a complacent, sleepy group.
-- Dan Bickley
Barry Enright (@BarryEnright54) February 21, 2012
Twitter doesn't work for me this early.... #NotMuchOfAnEarlyPerson— Daniel Hudson (@DHuddy41) February 21, 2012
Just finished watching Amadeus, which I hadn't seen before. Good movie, but I had to pause it after ten minutes to go and watch the Falco video, try to flush that song out of my head. It didn't really work. For today, let's have a link-dump of spring training news and notes, which seem to be coming out of Salt River Fields with a bit more reliability. C'mon and rock me, Amadeus...
- The intro perhaps explains these comments from Trevor Bauer: "I didn't know what time guys were getting here [Monday]. I was told there was a meeting at 1 p.m. and get here a little earlier and be dressed for the meeting. Showed up at 12:30, got dressed and was ready for the meeting 20 minutes early, but apparently that was a little bit late. So I got here a couple of hours early today."
- David "The Silent Assassin" Hernandez - a nickname given him by J.J. Putz, which I think is well worth running with - is happy in his relief role. "You always want to keep your doors open, but at this point I'm just really comfortable in the bullpen and I could see myself being down there for good now. I have no motivation for being a starter. I see what the starters go through with all that running and all those bullpens. I'd rather cut out the bullpens, and my bullpens can be in the game."
- Bauer and Tyler Skaggs each threw their first bullpens of the season. According to Nick Piecoro, Bauer "looked like he had been throwing all winter" - later, clarifying he meant this in a good way. Piecoro added, "They looked like their normal selves, albeit Bauer said he had a little trouble with his command and Skaggs wasn’t pleased with his curveball. Both seemed to have good life on the ball, as did fellow prospect Evan Marshall, who also broke off a few of his spike curveballs."
- The latter link also has Miguel Montero talking about Trevor Cahill's sinker. "Every time I caught the ball, I felt like the ball was pounding my mitt," Montero said. "I felt like I was catching a hammer. That’s how heavy that ball was. I felt like I needed a new glove just to catch him." Hmm, sound like anyone else's trademark pitch we knew? Here's a clue: Johnny Estrada once said, "It's like a bowling ball that rolled off a table. It lands in my glove, and it feels like it weighs about 10 pounds."
- Joe Saunders talks about re-signing with Arizona. "I'm not hurting (financially) by any stretch, and my family means everything to me. If I can maximize the time in my career during the season to spend with them, it means a lot to them, and it means everything to me." Where's the "like" button for that quote? Jack Magruder quotes Saunders as saying, "My wife said my butt has gotten a little bit smaller," and impressing Kevin Towers with his work. "He's been busting his tail in the offseason, coming into camp in great shape and ready. Last year probably wasn't in as good a shape as he was in the past and thus the kind of slow spring and slow start. I've seen a guy who has been very focused and very determined so far this winter."
- J.J. Putz will probably throw more this spring. Though as Kirk Gibson noted, that "won't be hard. I threw more than him last year." As you'll recall, he was very lightly used, pitching most in simulated games, but a setback meant that he ended up having to rush his preparation somewhat in order to be ready. Gibson doesn't want that to happen again this year. "He's going to throw in games."
Stephen Drew did more of the same as yesterday, taking groundballs. Nothing much to report, which is what you want to hear.
- Jason Lane talks about his switch from outfielder to the pitching mound. "I was pretty comfortable out there pretty quick. It came back to me. I can always throw strikes. I pitched a lot as a younger player, all the way through college, so it wasn't totally foreign to me."
Here's some stuff left over from yesterday, which I didn't quite get to then.
- Kirk Gibson wants our pitchers to be better at handling the bat, both the bunt and the "butcher boy" play, where the hitter fakes the bunt, then smacks the ball past the infield as they charge in. "If you want to stay in the game, you’ve got to be able to handle the bat. We have to be better, period. The whole team has to be better at bunting. We were brutal. It wasn’t acceptable at all... I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I want to sacrifice all the time, but when you need to sacrifice, it’s good to get them down... The slashing part, I’d love to pull them in and jam it down their throat. Love it."
- The same piece also discusses whether his wrist/thumb injury might have been a factor in Chris Young's second-half slumpage. He said, "It was what it was. It was something that I had to play through, but I don’t regret anything. I’d play through it again if I had to. The main thing now is that I’m 100 percent. The wrist is feeling amazing. It feels like everything is completely healthy. I’ll continue to work on everything and get better... It’s one of those things that nags if you continue to play with it. It takes more than a few days to get better."
- Conversely to Putz, looks like Takashi Saito's workload will be lighter this spring. "D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he spoke with his counterpart in Milwaukee, Ron Roenicke, who told him that the Brewers wished they had taken it a little easier on Saito during the spring." Interestingly, the team didn't actually give the right-handed reliever a physical, Kevin Towers saying, "We knew he probably would have failed." Quite a statement, that. Even more startling, advanced scout Mark Weidemaier said Saito's arm could go with one pitch. The team hopes to avoid that happening, with careful use and today, Gibson said Saito is slated to be the 7th-inning guy for the Diamondbacks.
Tweet of the Day goes to Nick Piecoro:
Apparently national writers don't have to walk from the parking lot. @jonmorosi just pulled up to Dbacks facility on security golf cart.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) February 21, 2012