Rockpile Rumblings Spring Training Day 11 – Ground Hog Day!

     Groundhog day!  Or is it…well, it may be too early for that, but these are the days when during conversations we are just about on the same page of saying “can’t wait for games to start.”A couple of days ago, I talked about repetition. There are so many subjects to cover before games, plus pitchers have to work up their pitch count to be prepared for games.
      Pitchers are up to 45 pitches. They also worked on reviewing signs, discussing situational pitching, pick offs at 1st (backdoor), picks at 2nd (inside move and daylight pick) and a station once again for bunt plays. To explain the daylight pick, it can be put on by either the shortstop or second baseman. Either player has the option to perform the pickoff. If the shortstop or 2nd baseman sees an opportunity to pickoff the runner, he shows the pitcher his glove or open hand and moves to the bag, the pitcher then turns and delivers the ball to 2nd. Most of the time, the play is designed to at least keep the runner from getting a big lead or jump in order to score. If we pick the runner off, that’s a bonus.
     Catchers worked on fielding bunts and throwing to 1st base. Down the 1st base line a dummy model of a player is set up and the catchers have to move their feet to make the throw around the dummy. They continued to work on setting their feet to throw to 2nd and 3rd.  Another drill (double steal drill) was set up with a machine at 2nd.  The catcher receives the ball, comes up and throws to 2nd and awaits the ball out of the machine to apply the tag at the plate with another coach tossing a blocking dummy at the catcher to simulate a collision at the plate.
     To focus on setting up to block the plate, receiving the ball and applying the tag is a constant repetition for catchers. Catchers then hit off a machine.  Yesterday was curve balls and today was hard fast balls at around 85 mph. Understand that with a machine 85 is like 90+ because you don’t get to time a live arm.
     Until tomorrow, take time to help someone today,  and don’t take any day for granted!!!
May God Bless and Nevery Surrender!!!
-Joe Mikulik

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