Good morning on a Monday. I hope everyone had a nice weekend and is strapping in for another work week.
Something I had forgotten about Spring Training — it’s really long. The games have been going on for a couple of weeks now and yet, we’re still about 20+ days away from Opening Day. Trust me, I’m happy that baseball is back, but I think I’ve seen enough of random prospects and journeymen. I want the real thing to start. I’m not just anxious for MLB action to resume, but I can’t wait to follow the minor league prospects either.
Now for a couple of news items:
~ Zito got torched by the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. He tossed 5 innings but gave up 10 hits, 2 home runs, and 6 earned runs. He walked 3 hitters while striking out none. His ST ERA now sits at 7.24. Drawing too much from ST is a foolish thing to do, but Zito sure isn’t helping to calm my fears.
Zito blamed a lack of rhythm for his pitching troubles:
“It’s not automatically there right now, where sometimes you slip out of it and then you fall right back into it,” Zito said of his rhythm. “I think here you have to produce it and really get that feel for it again, and when you have some repetition under your belt, then it’s something you can fall back into if you go out there for an inning and you lose your rhythm.”
~ Willie Mays is giving Aaron Rowand some important CF playing tips.
Rowand did not always get great jumps on balls and overthrew cutoff men far more than a seven-year major-leaguer should. Mays had some answers. He told Rowand to close the gap between his fingers when he grips the ball and throw more on a downward slope, as a pitcher does. Mays also said Rowand needs to crouch more as the pitch is thrown, allowing for a more catlike step toward long flyballs.
I’m enjoying that our 77-year-old legend is giving Rowand tips on how to throw a baseball.
~ You can read a nice guest post on Extra Baggs by Dan Brown. Brown has some of the new Fielding Bible (or plus/minus) numbers from John Dewan. He actually touches some on Renteria, calling himi a -7 play defender at shortstop. -7 plays translates to about 5.5 runs below average. That’s not too far off of his bUZR score from last season of -1 run below average.