Kelly Shoppach didn’t send any text messages to manager Eric Wedge this morning to advise him he’d be ready to spend nine more innings behind home plate. Shoppach caught all 16 frames two days ago, then nine more in last night’s loss.
“That was the most I’ve ever caught,” he said of the game two nights ago. “I’ve played in games that have gone on that long, but never caught every inning of them. So, I’ve never caught that many innings over two days either.”
Surprisingly, his knees feel fine. Shoppach has has a pair of minor surgeries on his knees for torn meniscus, but says he hasn’t felt anything wrong with them after the past two days.
“My legs felt great,” he said. “My back felt sore, though. Just bending over and getting signs. That took the most out of me.”
Shoppach spends a great deal of time on leg strengthening work in the off-season. Instead of running to get his cardiovascular work in — something that places undue stress on the knees — he now compensates with heavy-duty power-lifting so intense that it’s as good as a cardio workout by the time he’s done.
He’ll squat double his weight and do enough reps to the point of being nauseuous, then take a very short break and do it again.
“My legs feel so strong by the time I’m done that I don’t feel them in games,” he said.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he’ll see how Shoppach feels after tonight. Wedge added that he isn’t averse to using catcher Brandon Bantz if he has to. Even if Shoppach does start again, Wedge would like to get Bantz into at least one at-at situation before Jesus Sucre is ready to play again.