The end of spring training is FINALLY in sight for those us still at minor league camp! The grind of repetitious drills and mostly-meaningless games is nearly over, and opening day is fast-approaching. While I definitely don’t want to take anything for granted, I’m still working out with the AAA team, and I’m hoping that’s the club that I will break camp with. However, there are still many roster moves to be made in the coming days, so we’ll see what happens…
As many of you are probably aware, I had a bit of a rough big-league camp, statistically-speaking. While I feel like I pitched better than my numbers showed, I was never able to find a rhythm in my short time there. However, since I’ve been at minor league camp, throwing on a regular schedule (similar to how it will be in the season), things have progressed nicely. I’ve now thrown 10 and 1/3 scoreless innings, with each outing getting slightly better than the one before it. In a scrimmage last Sunday, I recorded 5 outs (1 K, 0 H) on 10 pitches. Then, the following day against Milwaukee’s AAA team (pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this year), I struck out the side in the 9th on 12 pitches, preserving a 2-1 win. While that one will be tough to top, I feel very confident about where I am mechanically right now…starting to feel similar (or maybe slightly better) than I did in the second half of last season. Hopefully that will continue into the season, and I can play a big role in a winning start to the season for our defending PCL Championship team.
I have two more scheduled outings (today and Saturday, if all goes according to plan), and then we’ll break camp this Sunday. If I go to Sacramento, we’ll play a couple exhibition games against our high-A Stockton club next week (Tuesday in Stockton, Wednesday in Sac – both games scheduled for 6:30 PM), then we’ll head off to Portland for our first regular season game Thursday night.
Q & A:
(In an effort to save some personal time this season, I’m not going to jazz it all up with block quotes, etc…but hopefully it will be obvious where the question stops and the response begins…)
Would it make sense to protect your noggin whilst you're on the mound? Can your skull bones be tested in some fashion to learn whether they're unusually fragile? And if you choose against protection for comfort reasons -- are you well-insured? -- The Dogfather
According to the doctors, any injury I receive to my head (now that the fractures have fully healed) would be no different than any other person receiving a similar injury. So there’s no need to protect my head anymore than any other pitcher…which is probably something that should happen, but also not something I want to be known for. I want to be known as a good pitcher and a good person, not just a guy who’s survived 2 scary accidents and can pitch okay.
My bones could be tested, but they haven’t been. However, I’m quite certain that any other person who received the 2 blows that I did would’ve suffered the same consequences…if not more severe. Those who know me well would probably tell you my head is harder than the average person, and therefore, the blows HAD to be severe to crack my skull. :-)
I am well-insured, just like all minor leaguers, but anything that happens on the baseball field during the season is a workman’s comp issue…nothing to do with my insurance.
Did you know David Forst called you an internet superstar or something at FanFest? Haha. -- gotgreen
I did not, and I’m shocked that my name even came up. But I guess, if nothing else, I’m being talked about in SOME fashion…now I just gotta go and make it to where people are talking about my pitching on the field!
One question: Have you had contact with the kid since? Man, that'd be the kind of accident that would shake a kid to his core, I'd reckon... -- Ozzz
I have – a week after the incident. He was definitely hesitant to approach me, but I made an effort to make sure he knew I was going to be fine, and he didn’t need to be too concerned. Hopefully he’s forgotten about it, and he’ll never think about it again!
I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of you at the games this season…and hoping to make my major league debut sooner rather than later. But there’s only so much I can control, and (cliche alert!) I’m just going to take it one game at a time, one inning at a time, and one pitch at a time. :-) See ya at the ballpark!