Spring Training Miscellany: Parra In, Lester Pick-Offs, Rizzo Emotions, Heyward Body, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Parra In, Lester Pick-Offs, Rizzo Emotions, Heyward Body, More

Chicago Cubs
Players continue to work in Mesa, Arizona ahead of tomorrow’s technical reporting date for position players. If there are more than a handful of guys not yet in camp, I couldn’t tell you who they are.

The biggest news of the day is probably that there’s yet another pitcher in camp with the Cubs who could fit in a big league bullpen. It’s lefty Manny Parra, who’s legitimately quite good when healthy, but will still have an uphill climb to make the Cubs’ roster out of Spring Training (through no fault of his own).

He’s already in camp, by the way:

Jon Lester, and the other pitchers (but you were wondering about Lester), practiced pickoffs today, and Jesse Rogers got a couple interesting videos. First, there’s mostly what we saw late last year, with a softer, kinda-errant-but-not-terribly-errant throw:

But then there was this really interesting angled step and side throw, which would’ve picked off any runner in the league:

Rogers’ question is a good one, and, because pretty much everyone finds the balk rules confusing, I won’t attempt a sure-fire answer. I know you can take the angled step like that, but I’m not sure you’re allowed to also lean toward the plate as you throw like that. Pretty sure that would be called a balk, but I’m not 100%. I do know that it’s a killer looking move, and I can barely believe that was Lester.

Also: sometimes the problem for pitchers is that their muscle memory is so engrained for pitching that they have trouble making other types of throws, because their body simply can’t shake the automated response of a pitch – thus, the result is a mixed up output. Having a completely different throwing motion to the bases, then, could possibly be a good approach for Lester.

Regardless, hopefully this won’t be an issue for him again this season – or at least not one we have to talk about all that much. I mean, hey, he did pick a guy off last year off last year!

Anthony Rizzo is making us feel all the emotions:

Jason Heyward, fit guy:

And, naturally, then:

Kyle Schwarber is Da Burger?

A few of the many great shots John Arguello continues to get at camp:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.