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Spring Training


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#1 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:15 AM

Since Spring Training is now in full gear, so I thought I'd mention a few things I've noticed so far - sort of a quick "For What It's Worth" post.

If you haven't been to Fitch, there are 4 practice fields where the players rotate drills. They will be doing something different at each of the four fields, where they spend about 30 minutes (guessing) at each before moving to the next. There may be live hitting in one field, coaches throwing BP in another, pitchers drills or fiedling drills in the others. In the far "half field" to the east where the clubhouse and mechanical batting cages are located, they have everything set up for the bunting tournament. It is not accessable to fans, though you can walk around the park and watch some of it from a distance through a fence - if you wanted to.

It is so cool to watch Baez and Soler hitting in the cage - whether against live pitching or just a coach thowing. They were in the same group the first full day on Sunday (along with Brad Nelson and Christian Villaneuva). They are not just in there swinging for the fences, though there is some of that. When they do, it's fun to watch as these two can mash with the best of them. At one point on Sunday, Sveum walked over to the cage where Baez had just crushed 4 or 5 balls in a row and told him "let's see you hit 3 ground balls in row". Baez proceeded to smoke the next pitch on the ground between third and short, the next on the ground up the middle, and the next between first and second. Dale smiled and walked away, saying "There you go".

Junior Lake has been fielding balls at 3B and was looking great against live pitching on Sunday (Brooks Raley). He put a couple out on the street and hit some hard line drives as well. The program lists him at 6'2", but he is definitely taller than that. This guy gets bigger every time I see him. He was standing next to Solar and Lake is every bit as tall, with a similar build. He is clearly taller than Rizzo who is listed at 6'3".

On the not so great... I was watching the session when Garza was pulled. It almost made me sick, but I didn't see him grab is arm at any point. I was more focused on Baez hitting when it happened. After the pitch, Garza had a very uncomfortable look on his face as he backed off the mound. It was clear that he was done for the day, and something on his left side was bothering him. I was relieved it did not appear to be his throwing arm, but I wasn't totally sure. Ironically almost immediately before it happened, I was thinking -- Great, Garza is back! He was looking really good.

Rizzo, Stewart, and Shierholtz were part of another group that I watched in the cages on Sunday. The contrast between Rizzo's compact, powerful and consistent stroke with Stewart's loopy mess is quite stark.

Marmol seems to be in great spirits. He seems more engaged with his teammates and I also think I've seen him sign more autographs and talk to more fans that I've seen combined in all other years.

Baker and Bowden are hard working guys.

Clevenger has hit some balls farther than I thought he was capable of on Saturday and Sunday. Rizzoesque in nature. He had the crowd buzzing! (I heard a few comments along the lines of "he should be the starter... fans are funny).

Always great to see Sutcliffe in Cubbie Blue. Bill Buckner too, while he was here.

#2 Fishin Phil

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:23 AM

Thanks so much Spriggs!
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#3 hansman1982

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:31 AM

"(I heard a few comments along the lines of "he should be the starter... fans are funny)"

First Day Clubhouse Leader for The Riot Award.

Thanks for the updates, a lot to be excited about and then you had to throw in the loopy mess of Stewart's swing...BOOOOOOOOO

#4 Diamondrock

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

It's really great to hear from a fan who is on the ground... Thanks for the update!

That said, it's also disappointing to hear about Stewart. I was really holding out some hope that he could at least provide some average offense to go with his defense. But I guess that was my eternal fan optimism coming through...

#5 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

It's really great to hear from a fan who is on the ground... Thanks for the update!

That said, it's also disappointing to hear about Stewart. I was really holding out some hope that he could at least provide some average offense to go with his defense. But I guess that was my eternal fan optimism coming through...


To be fair to Stewart though, he just got here. His swing will never be picture perfect, but I'm sure he needs a little time to work out some rust...

#6 Spencer

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

These updates were awesome, Spriggs! Keep them coming please!

#7 Spencer

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:19 AM

PS: Spriggs, do you have Twitter? Because live tweeting while you're at the park would be awesome :)

#8 FFP

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for this post, Spriggs. The New England wind is a little less biting when I am brought so close to spring training. Sveum's comment at the batting cage was especially warming.

#9 Katie

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:15 PM

PS: Spriggs, do you have Twitter? Because live tweeting while you're at the park would be awesome :)


I agree with this! Thanks for all perspective. I can't wait to see some of these guys here in Des Moines! I hope that it's sooner rather than later.
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#10 Dave H

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

PS: Spriggs, do you have Twitter? Because live tweeting while you're at the park would be awesome :)


That would be awesome to see updates on twitter. Thanks so much for the updates here also!

"We won a game yesterday. If we win one today, that’s two in a row. We win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It HAS happened before." - Lou Brown


#11 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

No, I do not. I was thinking about that while watching the Garza thing go down.

#12 CubChymyst

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

Feel like I'm a little late to the party, but thanks for posting this. It is good to hear a first hand account about what is going on in spring training.

#13 Tommy

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

I would pay money to read your posts, Spriggs. Thanks.
- diehard fanclub member #002

#14 Tommy

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

don't even think of asking me for donations!
- diehard fanclub member #002

#15 Spriggs

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:19 PM

don't even think of asking me for donations!


Dang. OK I won't.

I couldn't attend at Fitch today. I still have a real job - unfortunately. but will be there tomorrow and will let you all know if I see anything worth reporting. Hopefully it won't be like a tree falling on The Shark or anything Cubbish like that.




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