Blez asked me to postpone this post til Thursday morning, even though it was ready Tuesday night...blame him! :-)
This was an amazing week. Sunday afternoon, I got to experience the coolest moment of my baseball career. I’ve been very blessed with many things in this game, including pitching in the College World Series, being drafted, being promoted twice, winning 2 championships in pro ball...but Sunday topped them all. I got to be at the field when my best friend with the A’s, Danny Putnam, was taken out of the game in the 7th inning and told he was being called up to the major leagues. Never before in this game have I experienced a moment of joy and excitement like I did at that time. It was so cool! I’m really happy for Danny and his wife, Becky. They’re great friends, and I hope they enjoy every minute of his big league career.
Back in Midland, it was a pretty good week for me. I pitched an inning last Monday in Little Rock. After giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning, the 3rd hitter hit into a fielder’s choice, leaving runners at 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Then I used the "fake-to-3rd" pickoff move and caught the runner on first stealing. We tagged him out in a rundown, and then I struck out the last batter to get out of the inning unscathed. We ended up winning that one, 2-0. Then on Saturday night, I pitched 2 scoreless innings, striking out 2 while giving up one hit. We lost that game, 3-1. In Corpus Christi two nights ago (Tuesday), I pitched 2.1 innings of relief, allowing 2 hits and 0 runs, picking up the win in an 11-5 victory.
Since the last GZWI...
Rockhounds record: 6-2
My stat line: 1 W, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 K, 0 BB
Updated season stats after game on Wednesday, April 25...
Rockhounds record: 12-4
My stats: 2-0, 1.17 ERA, 7.2 IP, 7 H, 6 K, 0 BB
*Over at www.baseball-reference.com, I found 2 Zieglers who have played in the major leagues, both of them for about a year's time, and both over a hundred years ago: Charlie Ziegler and George Ziegler. Any chance either of these guys is related to you? -- Philip Christy
Not that I’m aware of.
*Brad, a couple of weeks ago you mentioned that the meal money for minor league players is pretty skimpy. Would you say that most players maintain a well-balanced, nutritious diet? Or do a lot of the guys stay on the Taco Bell, Burger King, Domino's rotation? Does the organization lean on you to eat well? -- Soaker
Well, when we’re at home, we don’t get any meal money. We are living just on our salaries at that point. On the road, we get $20/day. It’s tough to eat more than fast food, especially when $4 (+ tip) of that goes to clubhouse dues for the day (at home, we pay $6/day). We always try to find little sandwich shops and delis that will allow us to eat somewhat healthily, but it’s often difficult. The team doesn’t preach to us about healthy eating, although they do hint that they’d prefer we did as well as we can. A lot of times, guys will try to eat as much as they can at the clubhouse, but often there isn’t a lot available when we’re on the road. It’s a difficult scenario, but we make do.
*You're back in Midland? Isn't that a bit of a disappointment considering you finished last year in AAA? I know you resigned as a minor league FA. Does this demotion (for lack of a better term) effect how much you get paid? And were you given a reason why the organization sent you back down to Midland? -- grover
Well, for starters, I didn’t finish last year in AAA. I was sent back to Midland with about two weeks left in the season (when Jay Witasick came off the big league DL) to make a couple more starts. But now that I’m a submarine reliever, it really didn’t surprise me that they sent me to Midland to start the year. Yes, it affects how much I’m paid (as would be the case for almost every player). And the main reason they told me I was starting in Midland is because they wanted me to get used to my new role and mentality as a reliever while I was still getting comfortable with the submarine motion.
*This question is about the Midland staff. Being early in the year can you describe how the rotation and pen is set up? I saw Dallas Braden threw the first game, but what other 4 are slated to start? Plus how are the roles in the bullpen defined? Are you slated to be a late inning situational right hander? Last but not least, how is it throwing to Landon Powell since he was rated the best defensive catcher in the cal league? Does he call the game or is it from the dugout? -- Bud Light
Originally, our starting rotation was set to be these guys, in this order:
Dallas Braden, Brad Knox, Ben Fritz, Kaz Tadano, Kevin Deaton.
Braden’s now in the big leagues, so yesterday, we received Dan Meyer from extended spring, and he started for us Monday. His velo was great (88-92 most of the night), but we just found out he's leaving for Sacramento on Friday. Michael Rogers started for us Tuesday, and Andy Shipman is moving to a starter's role this Saturday. It’s been a hectic year so far, but we’re hanging in there as a staff, trying to keep our team in as many games as we can.
Our bullpen’s been a little short-handed, with the retirement of Jeff Coleman, but Shipman gave us 4 outstanding relief innings Monday to give the pen a little rest. Also, we’ve promoted Brad Kilby from Stockton, and we're hopefully getting another player soon (Friday is the word). Jeff Gray seems to have established himself as the closer (threw 2.1 outstanding innings last night while the pen was still short-handed), and everyone else is pretty much on-call at any time.
Powell is great to throw to. He works hard at learning each pitcher’s likes and dislikes, as well as studying the other teams’ hitters. He’s possibly the best throwing catcher I’ve ever played with, as it seems like he’s gunning down a couple would-be base stealers every night. All of the catchers I’ve thrown to in the A’s system have been tremendous, and I have no problem with whoever is back there.
1. Have you had any managers or coaches you couldn't stand? Teammates?
2. Have you ever thrown at a batter intentionally? Why?
3. Have you ever been charged or involved in a brawl? -- McFood
- Nah. Everyone has disagreements at times, but I’ve gotten along with pretty much everyone I’ve been on a team with.
- Yes, but not since I’ve been with the A’s. I’ve done it twice, and both times it was to protect my teammates - guys on our team that had been hit. There are unwritten rules about this, and I’ve always followed them...
- I’ve never been charged, but I’ve been in 3 bench-clearing incidents with various teams. Only one of the incidents had punches thrown, but I wasn’t involved physically in any of the altercations.
I hope everyone is having a great week. Hopefully Putnam will rake, Buck will get 100% healthy, and Braden & Marshall will continue to pitch well, and the young A’s can help keep the team in 1st place. We’re in Corpus Christi, and tonight’s the 4th game of an 8-game road trip (after tonight's game, we leave to play the last 4 games in San Antonio). Keep the comments/questions coming! :-) And FYI, I’ll probably just wait till next Monday (May 7) to post again. THANKS!