Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday workout wrap-up

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Danny Espinosa turns a double play during today's first full-squad workout.
VIERA, Fla. -- Fifty-two healthy players took the fields today outside Space Coast Stadium for the Nationals' first full-squad workout of the spring. They very quickly realized a Davey Johnson-run camp will boast some significant differences from ones run by other managers.

Johnson prefers to keep things moving quickly, and he prefers to keep players together in large groups instead of breaking down into small units. Today's workout, including pre- and post-session conditioning, lasted only two hours. And instead of being spread out over four fields, it was mostly confined to two, with all of the regular position players together in one large gathering.

"It was great," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "I like the way we're doing it this year. We're spending the whole time on one field and everyone gets to, in a way, bond. It's good team-building, because everyone's not running around all over the place. You're not seeing each other in passing. It's not like we're going 150 mph. I think we're kind of being treated like pros."

The first portion of the workout was devoted to defensive fundamentals, and plenty of eyes were on Adam LaRoche. The veteran first baseman, eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, didn't put a lot of mustard on his throws across the diamond while starting double plays, but neither did most of his teammates.

LaRoche did play long toss yesterday and said his shoulder was "a little sore," though he actually found that to be an encouraging sign.

"It's the kind of sore I want to feel right now," he said. "If it's not sore at all, I'm probably not throwing enough. It was nice to push it a little bit."

At the plate, LaRoche said he felt "good." He didn't seem to be suffering any lingering effects of the shoulder surgery, driving balls to the gaps with a smooth, effortless swing.

One guy whose swing is anything but effortless is Bryce Harper, who goes all-out every time he grabs a bat and put on an impressive show during his BP session today. The 19-year-old crushed one home run to deep right-center, well over the heads of a group of fans watching from behind the fence.

(Harper, by the way, was the subject of a playful prank this morning, walking to his locker to find "Joe Namath 12" on his nameplate. He laughed when he saw it.)

Today's workout was a bit lighter than usual because all pitchers were given the day off from throwing bullpen sessions. They'll resume tomorrow with the first round of live BP of the spring, a welcome addition for guys who have grown weary of simply throwing to catchers and batters who haven't seen live pitching in months.

"I like it," Desmond said. "I spend the whole offseason hitting in a cage and hitting BP. That first live BP, you figure out where you're at."

Desmond, like many batters, won't swing much during his first live BP session, preferring instead to track pitches and get a feel for the strike zone again. That doesn't always sit well with pitchers who would rather their teammates take some hacks.

"I prefer you swing, because it lets me know what the ball is doing," reliever Sean Burnett said. "If I throw a sinker, it might look good to me, but I only get a real idea of it when you swing and get some action off the bat. I'd rather them swing at every pitch."

Not everyone is a fan of these sessions, which can be a bit awkward considering the "L" screen set up in front of the mound and the batting cage hovering over the plate for everyone's protection.

"I hate live BP," LaRoche said. "The cage and the screen, there's something about it that's just not fun. I mean, we've got to do it, it's the only way to get right, get ready. But it's not something I look forward to."

Something everyone should look forward to tomorrow: Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to be on the mound, and Bryce Harper is among the hitters scheduled to be on the same field at the same time. The two phenoms may not actually get to experience a one-on-one encounter, because not every batter faces every pitcher.

Still, that could prove to be one highly anticipated showdown if it does occur.

25 comments:

JaneB said...

Take photos of the phenoms facing each other when the universe conspires finally to have Strasburg pitch Harper. I'm actually going to root for no OppoBoppos.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Natsjack will be there trying to hobnob with the baseball people with a camera JaneB. Personally, I'd be more interested in meeting Swag the dog then watching guys just trying to ramp up in ST. Its always an interesting experience trying to shake the rust off from a winter layoff as short or as long as it might be.

NatsJack in Florida (and hapoy as hell) said...

Correctamudo!

MicheleS said...

NatsJack.. we are all just jealous! Take lots of pics!

natsfan1a said...

I'm going to root for a routine BP session. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, Nats will sign Zimmerman to an extension today. Sports talk is saying $150 million for 8 years.

NatsLady said...

MicheleS, thanks for the heads-up on that Clipp/Storen video. It took a while but I found it, and then it crashed my home computer... Clip looked cool in those shades...Drew does love to talk...

That would be something, Jesus pitching to Joe Namath...

Anonymous said...

I'm going to root for a routine BP session.

A good thing to wish for ... this is the time where the risk of injury is highest which is likely why Johnson is taking the approach of not doing too much too soon too quickly. As I recall its when LaRoche first started having shoulder problems ...

Initially, Its about shaking off rust not about pitching the seventh game of the world series. Two entirely different things.

Get Some Players said...

Has anyone seen Zimmermann's split finger changeup?

Propositional Logic said...

If the Nats need to get some players? Then how could one have aHas anyone seen Zimmermann's split finger change up? He can't possibly be a player?

Get Some Players said...

Prop Logic---What?

DWS said...

Xavier Paul ? Has he shown up?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Yes, Xavier Paul reported on time. Everyone's in camp.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Holy crap. Have anyone of you experienced an entire spring training?

I've beem doing this since 1971.

It's friggin baseball And it's finally back in DC.

For God's sake...... ENJOY!

Anonymous said...

Looks like Tyler Moore is being asked to coach up Corey Brown. Hope he can do it ... be better than a Gerardo Parra trade since Brown REALLY CAN play CF and hits for legit power. When he is hitting.

Scott from Burke said...

I found this online: "As one of the best player to ever play for the Washington Nationals' former namesake, the Expos, Carter was inducted into the Nationals' ring of honor in 2010"...so are they wearing a Gary Carter patch this year?

Anonymous said...

"As one of the best player to ever play for the Washington Nationals' former namesake, the Expos, Carter was inducted into the Nationals' ring of honor in 2010".

Best interesting questing of the day.

Anonymous said...

Looks like "Broadway Joe" is going to be an uncle ...

Doc said...

It would be nice to see some remembrance for Kid Carter--he was my favorite Expo/Nats.

Davey had a lot of respect for him as a player.

Speaking of respect, it's time that Davey gets viewed as the exceptional manager that he has always been.

Maybe taking the Nats to the playoffs will bring it on!

Goooooooooooooooooo Nats!

Anonymous said...

Maybe taking the Nats to the playoffs will bring it on!

Almost a lock to get manager of the year honors ... but you never know what may or may not happen ...

dj in Fl said...

I will see you tomorrow natsjack, hope the rain holds off.

I played around with a comcast free web site tonight and put up the few photos I got before a camera malfunction. The site will only be for photos, no blogs or comments please. I will just put photos that I take on it.

http://home.comcast.net/~djinfl/site/?/home/

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

"the Washington Nationals' former namesake, the Expos"

Wait, what? That's like going to different schools together, I guess.

NatsNut said...

NatsLady, MicheleS, anyone,
any chance you have a link to the clippard/storen video from yesterday? I looked all over for it and no luck.

Just wondering said...

If Zimmerman's deal blows up over the no trade clause, does that make Jayson Werth our new face of the franchise? He would be the only player the team is willing to commit to holding onto for that long, after all.

NatsLady said...

NatsNut-- try this:

http://www.csnwashington.com/blog/nationals-talk/post/Lidge-sharp-in-bullpen-session?blockID=657506&feedID=6358

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