March 2009

Quiet day in Kissimmee. Wandy improving.

Today was what we at MLB.com refer to as a”shorty” day. In a nutshell, this means that when the team is on an especially long road trip, the beat reporter, in this case, me, stays back and covers the workout at the home complex instead of covering the game. Since about half of the players go to each road game and half stay home, I’m usually guaranteed to be able to find something to write about from the morning workouts at the home park.

This morning I ran into Wandy Rodriguez, who said he threw six minutes on flat ground without any pain. This is good news, considering he’s slated to miss two starts with a strained muscle on his left side. Wandy is pretty confident he’ll throw a bullpen sometime in the near future, and he’s not even convinced he’ll need to miss more than one start. We’ll see.Doug Brocail probably won’t make more than five or six appearances all spring, which is fine with him. It’s unlikely he’ll be overused during the regular season like he was the first four months of last year, before LaTroy Hawkins arrived, but still, Brocail is preparing to be plenty busy. At 41 years old and entering his 15th Major League season, he knows how to get ready for the season, so it’s probably a good idea that he’s scaling back on the workload this spring.

The last time I posted pictures on this blog it was well-received, so here’s some more shots that I took from the workout this morning. Enjoy. I’m taking the next two days off (thankfully) so I’ll catch up with you on Friday.

Here we have Berkman and Boone doing sprints.

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And Geoff Blum doing much of the same:

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Kaz Matsui taking BP

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Chris Sampson, throwing a bullpen session:

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Doug Brocail and Russ Ortiz, during PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice):

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Not such a good day in St. Lucie.

Sunday’s game in Port St. Lucie was played in cold and windy conditions where even the most harmless of fly balls turned into home runs. That didn’t make manager Cecil Cooper feel any better, though, considering the Mets scored 13 runs and his Astros scored only once.

“They did a pretty good job on the other side,” he said with a laugh. “I just know I’m getting a little tired of seeing it. We need some good games thrown in there somewhere. It was a tough day.”

Fernando Nieve made his debut, and although he didn’t give up any runs, he worked himself into two bases-loaded jams over the course of two innings of work. Nieve admitted he was “a bit wild” with his breaking pitches, but he also said he made an adjustment and overall felt pretty good about the outing.

“I weas excited to pitch and then today, I felt good,” he said. “I didn’t have any pain in my body. But sometimes you try to show too much in the first game, the first outing. This was my first outing and everything is going well.”

Still, cooper would like to see more from Nieve, one of a handful of pitchers auditioning for the fifth starter spot.

“We still have some command issues,” Cooper said. “He escaped [trouble] but he has to have a little better command. Next time out, I hope it will be better for him.”

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