Intrasquad game in the books
The Blue Jays took part in their first “game” of Spring Training on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Team Grey defeated Team Blue 2-1 in the five-inning affair that featured Brandon Morrow (grey) versus Ricky Romero (blue) on the mound. Both starters remained in the game for just one inning each as they slowly build up arm strength for the start of the Grapefruit League season.
Speaking of the Grapefruit League, that officially gets underway on Saturday afternoon when Toronto hosts the Pirates. For a full preview you can find today’s feature on the main site and for those looking for in depth information stemming from the intrasquad game you can find all of that in today’s notebook.
Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB where I’m posting daily pictures and various tidbits from around Spring Training. In the meantime, here are today’s leftovers from a busy morning/afternoon at the ballpark:
On Crawford’s delivery that involves a little hesitation in the wind-up…
“I think it causes some uneasiness to the hitter when they’re trying to get their timing down. The one thing that we have to monitor from a pitching side, that extra movement, does it affect the timing in his delivery. Just talking with some people in player development, when he does get a little erratic it’s because that hitch might get a little violent at times. But there’s no denying his stuff, he has two quality pitches.”
“He made a great play up the middle. For many years, you took for granted that he would make those. That’s the one thing — as we’ve
talked about Omar, him coming in and what he can provide for us — we don’t want to short sight the skills and today was evident of that.”
Going with your set lineup on Saturday?
“We would look to start with, as best we can say, what a set lineup would be. And yet, there’s still some jobs to be won. Through the
first 4-5 days of Spring Training, everyone is going to get to the field and you could expect the guys that will start tomorrow to try
to get three at-bats and then we will fill in behind them.”
On Snider’s double and Thames’ hard contact in intrasquad game…
“I know that’s going to be the daily watch but it was good to see the guys come out and swing the bats with some aggression. Not only with the swing that Snider put on against VandenHurk, but you saw Colby at least get some early positive results for the work he has put in this winter and that’s important.
On Romero’s learning experience as an ace…
“With respect to Ricky I thought he did an excellent job of that a year ago. I think there was a lot made of a game down in Atlanta a
year ago, where we ran into a very good pitching staff in Atlanta and runs were hard to come by. As he has channeled his emotion in the right way, it’s allowed him to execute on a consistent basis in those tight games and I thought he handled that extremely well and that’s what’s allowed him to evolve into the pitcher he is now.
“He has pitched his way into an elite group in the American League — as evidenced by the number he put up a year ago. We’re seeing that maturation continue and going up against another team’s front of the rotation type of guy, he’s going to find himself in that same
How much of a learning experience was that controversy in Atlanta…
“We want all of our players to be able to speak their mind. I think we saw from early mid-May on, he’s a fierce competitor. With every player, there’s a level of energy inside of their swing or their delivery that works best for them. That emotion is what you want to come out of a player, to a certain extent, and I think Ricky really found that level of intensity to make sure he executed on a consistent basis and I think that’s one of the reasons that really allowed him to elevate his overall performance.
Escaping jam in the first inning…
“You hate situations like that but I feel like that’s where you’ve got slow the game down and make good pitches and one pitch at a time and that’s what I did. I know it’s pre-season and everything but I’m a competitor man and I take it serious, I don’t want that guy to score, no matter if it’s a practice game or whatever it is. My job is to leave that guy on third and make good pitches.”
Hadn’t been comfy?
“Bullpens weren’t as good as I wanted them to go, live BPs weren’t that good, but I was able to slow it down with a hitter there, with an umpire there, you get back into that game mode, and slow everything down.
On bullpens not providing true test…
“That’s the good thing about scrimmages like this, you’re able to see hitters’ swings and what they see, and I was able to talk to some of the guys and what they saw, if stuff was moving, just get a little feedback, it’s early and I’m going to continue to build off of this.”
Solid swing on homer…
“No doubt about it. Got a good pitch out over the plate and took a good hack on it. Got lucky.”
Feel completely comfortable about the lower leg kick?
“I wouldn’t say entirely, it’s still pretty early but I feel good. I felt confident at the plate, I think that’s all that matters. And I’m seeing the ball good, that’s one thing I want to do, is just see the ball good. If I’m seeing it good, then my hands will get there.
“One thing I tried to work with myself on this off-season was not going out there in my at-bats and changing things. Work on my swing in the cage, work on my swing in BP, but when it gets out there in the game, just see the ball, hit the ball. Just relax, see the ball and hit it, run it down and catch it. Don’t think about nothing that’s going on, my mechanics, whatever. Just go out there like I’m 10 years old having fun playing a baseball game.
Hitch in delivery … deception?
“I’ll take anything that’ll trick a batter. I kind of started last year a little bit. It kind of helps me stay on top of the ball. That’s really why I started doing it. Just going to keep riding it out for a little bit.”
On potential of making the bullpen…
“I’m just aiming to be on the field, anywhere I can be. Anything I can do to help the team, a team, is what I want to do, just to be out on the field and pitch, wherever they want me.”
Breaking ball effective v LHB…
“Very important. I learned last year at Double-A, you have to be able to throw that pitch for a strike. You’re not going to come out here and throw fastballs by everybody, so obviously a very important pitch for me.”
How are you feeling in camp this year?
“It’s great learning from these guys. I’ve been working out a lot with Janssen. He’s kind of helped me out a lot in the weight room and working out and just watching him, and watching Oliver and these older guys – who else better to learn from? These guys have been there, done it and done it well. I’m just trying to soak it all in as much as I can.”
Was it difficult transitioning to a role in the bullpen?
“No. Having a chance to pitch every day is fun for me, not knowing, just trying to be a bulldog every day. That’s something the kind of fits my personality. I didn’t have too much trouble. Pitching is pitching, I think.”
On missing homer by a couple of feet…
“I didn’t see where it hit, it felt like a good swing. One day at a time, one swing at a time, there are some things to take away from it, there are some things to work on. I’m looking forward to it.”