Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Live BP drama

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chien-Ming Wang's velocity was better today, but his command was off.
VIERA, Fla. -- Plenty of interesting nuggets out of today's workout, most of it from the several rounds of live batting practice that were taking place on side-by-side fields...

Chien-Ming Wang faced live hitters for the first time this spring, and the results were mixed. Wang's velocity appeared to be better than it had been in recent bullpen sessions, but his command was all over the place.

That's probably not all that surprising when you consider that Wang hadn't faced live batters since the instructional league in October, but it's further evidence the right-hander still has a ways to go before he's ready to pitch in actual game competition.

When Wang did find the strike zone, he was hit a few times. Ian Desmond tagged a one-hopper to the left-field fence on his first swing. ...

Power met power when Bryce Harper faced Cole Kimball in one of the live BP sessions that drew plenty of interest from team officials and media members alike.

Harper got a hold of a pair of Kimball heaters. One short-hopped the fence in center field. The other cleared the fence in right-center, a laser of a home run that drew a few oohs and aahs from the assembled masses. ...

The highlight of the day, though, came when Drew Storen squared off against Jayson Werth. There's a back story, of course, with these two: Werth clubbed a walk-off grand slam two-run homer off Storen on Sept. 19 at Citizens Bank Park, a titanic clout on the eighth pitch of an epic at-bat in the bottom of the ninth.

The two had joked about it since Werth signed with the Nationals, but Storen had been waiting for this first head-to-head battle since the grand slam walk-off homer for some time. When Werth stepped into the cage, Storen's first offering came in high and tight, a little brushback pitch with purpose.

Werth nodded his head at Storen and called out: "Now we're even."

Storen's reply: "Can't let you get too comfortable up there."

When the session was over, Werth walked past Storen and said: "I don't know if I would've respected you if you hadn't thrown that first one in there."

Nice moment between two former competitors who are now teammates. Shortly after Werth signed with the Nats, the two guys talked about their big confrontation in Philly.

"Oh yeah. It was like one of the first things we talked about," Storen said. "He asked me: 'Why'd you throw a fastball there?' It was good. It was good closure for me.

"It was interesting to hear his perspective on it, because obviously I've played it out in my head and what I thought he was looking for. I thought I could get a fastball by him there. I told him our scouting reports are a little different on what he likes to do late in counts. He was pretty funny. He asked why I didn't just throw a slider again. So he actually ended up giving me more confidence in my slider.

"In all seriousness, that's a big learning thing for me. You get a guy like that who's a big-time hitter like that, and you know what he's looking for late in the game? That's all part of the learning process. That was huge for me."

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Stuff! Thanks Mark.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Mark... I don't usually ask you chase down anything, but I'm sure alot of us would like to hear what Adam LaRoche's first impressions of his new club are. Haven't seen anything concerning his take on things yet.

citizen16 said...

This is great Mark! Love the details and extra information here.

Anonymous said...

Great report - thanks Mark! Love hearing the Storen/Werth story.

N. Cognito said...

I'm still wondering where Bryce Harper's locker is.
Come on Mark. Do your job!!

Mark Zuckerman said...

N. Cognito: Bryce's locker is between Espinosa and Nix. Thought I wrote that on the first day of camp. Sorry.

raymitten said...

Great stuff Mark. This is the kind of story one can only find on your blog. See if CSN will let you stay there the entire time!

Doc said...

Thanks MarkMeister!

Some real inside s**t. Fun reading!

By the way, did Werth get any palable smacks off of Storen in BP?

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Mark, this is the kind of info that make Spring Training Real!!! Can't wait to get down there.

Gnashnail said...

Mark--Super stuff! You are single-handedly changing journalism! The reporters in Cairo and Madison don't ask questions - of the principals - from the viewers - but you do! And what great human components, like the Werth/Storen episode. Stay there through March! CSN: Personnel salary action now.

N. Cognito said...

Mark - Thanks. I must have missed that. I really don't care. I know someone asked (can't fathom why!) and so I was playing off of that and doing my JayB impersonation.
;^)

N. Cognito said...

Gnashnail said...
"Mark--Super stuff! You are single-handedly changing journalism!"

Now we know why it takes Mark so long to type.

Tcostant said...

Baseball America's Top 100 prospects are out, guess who is #1, our own Bryce Harper...

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2011/2611328.html

Anonymous said...

Harper was carted off again today wasn't he Mark?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Yes, Harper left the practice fields on a golf cart for the second straight day. Not his decision; the Nats are making him do it to avoid the autograph mob we saw the other day.

dammitcoyne said...

Love the back-and-forth between Werth and Storen. Real glad that brushback didn't get away from him.

I say we start collecting camping supplies and ramen noodles to help Mark extend his stay if CSN won't extend his stay!

Anonymous said...

"Great stuff Mark. This is the kind of story one can only find on your blog."

Not true. I just read the same thing on Kilgore's blog. Probably on Goessling's blog too, although I haven't looked there yet.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ramirez and Rodriguez have cleared their visas and will be in camp tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Or you can look at it as consistent observations from multiple
sets of eyes. The only difference is better connected Boz who
gets input from the graybeards.

However, it might be nice to get more input from anonymous
scouts, especially those from other teams.

upperdeck4 said...

Thanks Mark. The detail is what makes your columns exceptional. I also don't look at this as a competition between you, Kilgore, Goessling, and Ladson. The more the better.

Wally said...

Cool. Looking forward to getting them in camp.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ramirez and Rodriguez have cleared their visas and will be in camp tomorrow.

N. Cognito said...

"Ramirez and Rodriguez have cleared their visas and will be in camp tomorrow."

Big deal. Mark has maxed out his Visa.

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