Heath Bell waves the USA flag after yesterday's victory over Canada. - Christian Petersen
In this edition: Team USA left it late, but moves on to Miami for the second round of World Baseball Classic action, Tyler Skaggs doesn't care about his numbers, and Josh Booty sees game action.
Quotes of the day
- "Numbers mean nothing to me; it's all about how you feel and what the coaches see. Spring Training is a confidence booster, and today added to my confidence out there. I felt like I was throwing the ball well."
-- Tyler Skaggs
- "Too many deep counts.He got himself in trouble when he did not cover the bag twice. Just kind of struggled with his command. We’d rather see him just throw the ball over the plate right now. Maybe just thinking a little too much. He’s throwing the ball much better. He gets into bad counts, he can’t just throw a fastball. He has to get that (curveball) over."
-- Kirk Gibson
- "I have to get ahead so when I throw a fastball it is a surprise. Every at-bat, that first pitch is so crucial. You get ahead with a first-pitch knuckleball ... now you have them where you want them. You could throw a fastball, sneak one in there. Looks like 100. It’s just getting comfortable throwing it... If I got behind in the count, I started aiming (the knuckleball) instead of letting it go, like I would in the bullpen. I’ve just got to trust it. If I walk ‘em, I walk ‘em. That’s the thing."
-- Josh Booty
- "Knowing Bloomquist and David Wright, those are guys who are perennial base stealers. I played with Bloomy in Seattle, and any time he gets on base, he doesn't want to stay on that base too long. It was a good pitch for him to go on and it was a good pitch for me to hit, and I was glad that I didn't try and do too much and didn't get distracted by the runners and just was able to put a good swing on a good pitch to hit."
-- Adam Jones
Goldschmidt the outfielder?
Okay, maybe it's really for emergency use, or some time in the future, but Paul Goldschmidt has been getting some playing time in the outfield of late. "I try to work on it a little and talk to some people. During BP, I just try to get into either left or right and kind of run down balls. I talked to [center fielder Adam] Eaton about the footwork he has and just little things like that." However, it's very much a secondary pursuit, something he does in addition to all the normal work, when time crops up during batting practice, and he doesn't think it'll be of much use in the upcoming season, because of our outfield depth. Beyond that? Who can say.
World Baseball Classic round-up
The line-up for the second-round pool in Miami completed itself yesterday. We've already covered the USA-Canada game, which put the Americans through as group winner, and Italy as runners-up. They will be joined there by the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, who had already qualified out of Group C, but faced each other yesterday to decide the winner and runner-up. The DR came out on top, coming from behind with single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to clinch a 4-2 victory. They'll face Italy on Tuesday in Miami, with first pitch at 10am Arizona time, while Puerto Rico will face the USA that evening, at 5pm here.
For a while in the other Pool C game, it looked like a massive shock was potentially going to happen, as Spain held a three-run lead over Venezuela going into the fourth. However, the Venezuelan offense finally woke up, posting a six-spot in that inning, on their way to a 11-6 victory, that marked their only win in the tournament. All three D-backs started: Martin Prado went 2-for-5 and hit .455; Miguel Montero had a hit and an RBI and batted .286, but Gerardo Parra went 0-for-3 and ended the tournament hitless. Finally, in Japan, the home team scored in every inning, on their way a mercy-rule 16-4 win over the Netherlands in seven innings.
- The Royals continued to roll, improving to 13-1 with an offensive onslaught against the Angels, winning 17-11, as the side combined for 33 hits, 13 walks and seven errors. The day's best pitching came from the Dodgers, who held the Rockies to five hits and one unearned run, Clayton Kershaw allowing two hits over five innings.
- They have vintage baseball in San Francisco too.
- Despite a mutual love for the game of baseball, US attempts to use the sport to better relations with Venezuela have not succeeded. But who cares: we're in the second round of the WBC and they're not. Hahaha! Venezuela, you are dead!