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February 24, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Felix Hernandez throws a live batting practice session

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Felix Hernandez skipped the live batting practice session the other day, with the Mariners opting to have him throw in the bullpen instead. Not today. Hernandez was out there with a very lively and vocal Miguel Olivo, unleashing his pitches at hitters who stood in there but did not swing.
Erik Bedard threw live BP right after Hernandez, snapping off some lively curveballs.
The rest of the morning, as always , was devoted to fielding drills. Yeah, they get redundant, but they are certainly important.


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One of my personal favorites is the pop-up drill, where the ability of infielders — and outfielders — to communicate with one another is just as important as making the catch. Well, OK, not just as important. All the yelling in the world won’t matter if you don’t catch the ball. But the point is, communicate enough and the catch should be made.
Coaches were stressing that players yell “I got it!” at least three times. And they did.
Some of the balls were dropped. Most weren’t, even in the bright morning sun.
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We also saw outfield relay drills, where the fielders had to hit their cut-off men. Sometimes, they’d throw directly home depending on the situation.
Again, it can seem mundane if you’re watching it from your home on TV. But up close, you see just how much communication is involved. And I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like watching Ichiro charge a ground ball to right field and make a perfect, one-hopped throw home.

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