Stephen Drew taking ground-balls - vid by Steve Gilbert]
Good news on the short-stop front, where Drew returned to work today, after getting a breather yesterday., and showed a bit more lateral movement, as depicted above. He said afterward, "It's coming along well. The healing's coming along. I'm pretty excited about that... The first two days were kind of getting into it, but today I feel like I had a little more hop to my step. If that happens every day, it's going to be a good thing." He seems to be ahead of what was expected, but Kirk Gibson cautioned Drew is "far from being able to play in a game. Still, the front-flips will come in due course...
I suppose the big news over the past couple of days has been the arrival of Gerardo Parra. How would he respond to the signing of Jason Kubel for his spot, after a breakthrough season in which he won a Gold Glove and led the team in batting average among those here the whole year? The answer appears to be.. Amazingly well. "I feel good because Kubel is a great player. I know he's good. I'm happy because the team looks strong. The goal is to get to the World Series. I'm ready for anything... My thing is that I'm going to be 100 percent ready for whenever Gibby needs me. I'll be ready to pinch-hit or to play every day."
Of course, it's impossible to know if this reflects Parra's genuine feelings - I know, if Gibby was my manager, I'd not exactly be going "Que carajo, hombres - .292 y un Guante de Oro no es suficiente?" [Thanks to Mrs. SnakePit, for the translation, since she certainly did a lot better with the vernacular, than the dubious bit of Spanish originally brought to you by Google Translate...] But, I think it does reflect a collective sense of the team pulling together: Parra saw last year, that on this squad, you get the playing time you deserve, and if he plays like he did last year, he shouldn't want for starts. They might just not be so heavily in left-field.
After reporting in 2010 in admittedly less than ideal shape, [Ryan] Roberts felt he was in peak condition last spring and he made sure he continued to work hard this winter. "The thing that matters is that I still feel as quick and as limber as I did last year, but I gained 13 pounds," Roberts said. "I definitely feel quick."
[Geoff] Blum said he shed about 10 pounds during the offseason in order to reduce the stress on his knee, changing up his usual offseason routine as well. "I couldn't do a lot of the weight bearing things and stuff like that," Blum said. The D-backs will take things slowly with Blum this spring to try and avoid a repeat of last year. "He looks like he's in great shape," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Looks like a lot of D-backs spring training games will be aired, mostly tape-delayed on the MLB Network,. Here's the details, along with the start times (Arizona clocks).
- Wednesday March 7: 1pm vs. Indians (live)
- Monday March 12: 1pm @ Indians (live)
- Wednesday March 14: 7am vs. Angels
- Friday March 23: 11pm vs. White Sox
- Tuesday March 27: 8pm vs. Rockies
- Friday March 30: 1pm @ Angels (live)
- Sunday April 1: 11pm @ Dodgers
- Thursday April 4: 1am vs. Brewers
The opening game promises to be particularly interesting, since the players that day will be wired for sound. Should make for interesting viewing... Er, listening. MLB.com are looking for a Real-Time Correspondent Intern for each team. I think the key word is "Intern", so it probably means "no pay," but I imagine there's a possibility of it leading to bigger things down the road...
Let us speak of cutters. No, not the emo kind, and this is not another "D-backs players making sandwiches" event. I mean the type of pitch, which cropped up a couple of times. We have one bullpen pitcher who basically lives by it, and two more trying to learn it. The former is Bryan Shaw, and the latter, veteran J.J. Putz. Shaw stumbled into the cutter in 2009 while playing catch with Wade Miley, who said "I remember not wanting to play catch with him once he started cutting the ball so bad/" Both Miley and Putz have compared the pitch to that of Mariano Rivera. "It's that good," said Putz.
Might explain why our closer has been experimenting with it [so if you had "pitcher trying a new pitch" on your Spring Training Bingo card, cross that one off!]. He told Nick Piecoro, "I don’t even know if it’s going to turn into anything. It’s just a little wrinkle. I want to get something to bore in to lefties because my fastball tends to come back. Even if I try to cut it and it makes it stay true and straight, that’s a win." What? You mean he doesn't have nine different pitches he can command? DFA the lazy bum, he's clearly not trying...David Hernandez is also giving it a shot, though that seems more a primitive effort, our Silent Assassin saying he has "no confidence" in it.
But speaking of trying - and indeed, Trevor Bauer - Jack Magruder has a good piece detailing his startling training regime. Says Bauer, "The body adapts to the demands you put on it, so if you are going to have stress in a game, you have to train with similar stress so the body can adapt. Basically, everything I do is worked around that." However, Gibson is trying to rein in expectations for Bauer. "I just encourage him, like J-Up, just let it unfold, don't be who you guys [the media] say he's supposed to be. That's the most dangerous thing he can do... You say positive things about him, but how do you know? He's got ability. We know he's got ability, but what's he going to do with it?"
Well, going by this video from Nick Piecoro, the Defense Department might want to look into the Bauer fastball as a possible weapon of mass destruction.
Tweet of the Day - actually, Tweet of the couple of days since last update - is from Steve Gilbert. Though he only just beat our Barry Enright's #confessionnight, in which we learned he used to dress up as Superman, loves to dance and prefers to sleep with his feet outside the covers.
#Dbacks Gerardo Parra will receive his Gold Glove Award on opening day. No truth to the rumor that Jason Kubel will present it to him.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) February 22, 2012