Just got done with the third day of full-squad workouts here. The big thing today was pitchers throwing “live” batting practice to hitters, though it wasn’t really BP since nobody took any swings. The purpose was for hitters to track the ball and get used to seeing live pitching again.
Most would not be able to connect very well if they did take swings at this time of year. You need a lot more bat work before you can stand in and try to whack a Felix Hernandez fastball.
Sean White came out of today drawing plenty of praise from manager Don Wakamatsu. This is a big spring for White, who has to convince folks he can still throw his sinker effectively after that shoulder problem late last year.
“I saw the heavy sink that he showed last year,” Wakamatsu said. “When a guy comes off an injury and a rehab – we talked a little bit about Shawn Kelley last year, after he got hurt, I didn’t see quite the sink. Those are the things we’re looking for in spring. The second thing is how he responds off of that, tomorrow.”
By the way, given the quick mention of Kelley, he phoned Wakamatsu last night to give his version of the incident that led to getting clipped for six stiches on the chin by Mark Lowe’s spikes. “He called me last night and said it was more of an accident than anything else,” Wakamatsu said.
Wakamatsu said he accepts the explanation and is pleased to hear it the accident wasn’t really the result of any horseplay, as the coaching staff had initially said it was yesterday. You’ll remember that when we spoke to Kelley and Lowe yesterday, they both said it was an accident.
So, there you go.
Wakamatsu also said newcomer Mauricio Robles, the Class AA pitcher acquired — along with Luke French — for Jarrod Washburn last July was impressing hitters with his change-up today. Robles can get his fastball up to 95 mph. Combine that with an effective change-up and you’ve got the makings of a valuable piece for either the rotation or the bullpen.
“Velocity’s one thing, that’s there,” Wakamatsu said. “But when you talk about a young kid and hitters are talking about a secondary pitch, that’s pretty impressive.”
Josh Fields has also impressed so far. Fields is noticeably bigger this year — Wakamatsu figures it’s at least 10 pounds — but not in a bad way. He doesn’t look fat or anything, just more muscular and strong than the skinny former No. 1 pick who showed up in camp to finally sign a deal at this time last year.
Fields also appears to be carrying himself with more confidence this spring, something Wakamatsu calls “swagger.”
“I know he’s worked extremely hard, even the last couple of days,” Wakamatsu said. “There was one day he (got) dressed, and Rick (Adair) talked to him a little bit. He got undressed and then dressed again to go back out and do some more work. That’s the kind of stuff you really like. It’s exactly (how) we made some improvements with the (David) Aardsmas and guys like that. That really matters a lot. That drywork stuff. So, he’s one guy that’s done that above and beyond. So, I think he’s starting to realize that it’s going to take that. That it’s going to expedite his chances of getting here.”
It just so happens that I walked outside afterwards and there was Fields, in the bullpen area doing some extra work.