A Minor League Utility Manís Off Day
by, 07-01-2012 at 12:09 PM (1101 Views)
I wasnít in the lineup yesterday and I thought I would give you an idea of what the off day looked like for me. The minor league season is long, so having routines is important to staying fresh and ready when opportunities present themselves. My off day routine is a bit different than when I am playing.
Knowing I wasnít in the lineup for the game, I would need to get some extra work in to be prepared for the next time I was. I went out to hit in the cage a little early to work on some swing mechanics. Before stretch I informed the pitching coach that I could catch bullpens. Itís a good workout and helps to see balls out of the pitcherís hand. Jairo Rodriguez was the catcher for the game and Matt Koch (the other catcher) was the DH, so I figured I would give Koch a bit of a rest so he could be ready for the game. I caught a couple of pens, with Koch catching the rest. Lefty curveballs are still tough to catch, they aren't quite the same as they were in Little League.
After stretching and playing catch, we took the field for batting practice. I took groundballs and made throws from shortstop. I usually will make a few more throws on an off day to give my arm a good workout. Again, the little things are what help to withstand the 140 game schedule. I hit in the last group off of the tall lefty pitching coach Gary Lucas.
Once we get done with all of our pregame work around 4:45, we usually have about an hour and a half to eat, relax and get our minds right before the game. I took a few more rounds of BP in the cage with Tommy Watkins and JD Williams and headed in to get some food.
JD and I volunteered to sign autographs before the game at 6. So after we ate and got dressed for the game we headed outside to mingle with the fans. This was a big night. Because it was a Saturday night and fireworks were to follow, there were around 2500 fans at Pohlman Field to see us take on the Clinton Lumberkings. It was fun to chat with some fans, sign autographs for kids and see all the people. Around 6:30, JD and I went inside to get our gear and headed out to the field.
The big crowd was a fun dynamic for us. During the National Anthem, there were fireworks...the loud bang always makes someone jump. I would be the bullpen catcher/pitch charter/backup utility guy/late inning pinch runner for tonightís game. Have to be ready for anything from the bench. When our starter got into trouble in the third, I headed down to the pen in case anyone needed to get loose.
By the fourth, Cole Johnson was getting ready to enter the game. This would be my first in-game bullpen catching experience, pretty neat. In the sixth Bart Carter got loose and in the eighth Clint Dempster got ready. While the game didnít turn out the way we would have liked, I got to experience something I hadnít before. Baseball is always showing me something new and last night was no exception.
Today we take on the Cedar Rapids Kernels and itís National Guard Jersey day!
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(photo courtesy Jim Crikket)