Arrived at the half field this morning at around 9:30 or so hoping to see a couple side bullpen sessions. We were happy to see Catcher Logan O’Hoppe and coach Greg Brodzinksi come out and go thru some receiving drills. They practiced pushing thru the low ball catch, framing and eventually throwing and quick release tosses to each of the bases. Logan looks to be in superlative physical condition.
Two pitchers later arrived to throw side bullpen sessions. LH Ethan Evanko and RH Chase Antle - both of whom are working their way back from TJ injuries. They are pretty far along based upon today’s sessions as each threw multiple pitches. Repetition of mechanics, arm slot, consistent release points and footwork are the keys that I observe for early sessions. Both threw a variety of pitches with O’Hoppe as the catcher. It’s interesting to me to watch the aforementioned items in these workouts, I don’t focus so much on velocity or break but rather if anything is inconsistent or might tip a batter. With players coming back from injuries getting the mechanics right are essential so that repeatable deliveries can become re-trained in both mind and body. While there were a few inconsistencies today both hurlers appeared to throw well in all regards.
One of the things I always find neat is that when pitchers on rehab assignments throw bullpens their rehab teammates come and watch them do so. Today was no exception as Trevor Bettencourt, Brett Schulze and Keylan Kilgore were on hand to watch Evanko and Antle. Team spirit and bonding are very important elements in baseball in this observers view.
Also on hand this morning were big league bench coach Rob Thomson and minor league field coordinator Kevin Bradshaw. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski arrived this morning as well and later we saw Senior Advisor to the General Manager Larry Bowa.
All in all a good first day of observations for the first installment of 2022 “Today at the Complex”. We will return on Monday to see what we can see.
P.S. - “For love of the game” - when I was at the complex on Wednesday a Phillies fan and his wife drove in to the parking lot. The man, a bit older in appearance than my 62 years of age, asked the security guard if it would be ok if he had a catch beyond the Ashburn Field right field fence by side of the parking lot. He was given the ok and proceeded with great joy to put on his customized Phillies Jersey with his name on the back and tossed the ball up in the air repeatedly seemingly counting off how many he could catch in a row. His wife stayed in the vehicle and was reading a book. He told me he has been coming to spring camp since 1993 and always looks forward to shagging batting practice home run balls hit over the complex fences. Of course there wasn’t any practices of the sort on Wednesday so he made due with his own high tosses and catches. While we up watching at the half field today I noticed that he was back down at the complex and once again re-living his baseball joys by high tosses and catches in the Ashburn Field parking lot 😎. When I got home I told my wife Barb that I just saw our future in about ten years or so - probably not far from the truth 🤓. Sometimes the little things ya see at the complex are the tell alls about how this great game effects us in different ways and how we share a passion for it. By the way the gent is left handed - as a fellow lefty I can relate 😂.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️