Just got to Pirate City, and I’m about to head out to watch the big league camp take batting practice. The minor league guys should start a little earlier today, likely around 1:00 PM. From looking at the schedule, they probably won’t be doing bullpen sessions until 2-2:30.
I’ll have a video of Gerrit Cole throwing live batting practice up in a bit. Also, be sure to check out my feature on Robbie Grossman.
I’ll keep this updated throughout the day, and will have other updates on my Twitter feed @timwilliamsP2.
UPDATE 1:00 PM: I watched a situational drill with Jake Fox, Anderson Hernandez, Nate McLouth, and Ramon Cabrera. Altoona Curve manager P.J. Forbes gave each player an assignment when they stepped up to the plate. The assignments included: drag bunt, push bunt, checking a bunt then swinging away, hit and run drills, bunting against the squeeze, moving the runner over, hitting to the second base hole, and more. Between first and second base were two cones, set up in the ideal location for the hitters to hit. The cones represented the target area in these situations, as the first baseman would be holding the runner on first, leaving that gap open.
Hernandez and Fox did a great job putting the ball in that zone, and also did well with any other assignments. Nate McLouth did a great job bunting, but had problems keeping the ball on the ground in the hitting drills. Cabrera had a tendency to go back up the middle, which would usually result in some hits, but would also result in some outs in a hit and run situation. During the drills, Jake Fox hit a line drive home run over the right field wall. He also made several comments about the other hitters. When one hitter laid down a good bunt, Fox said ‘you better hope I’m not behind the plate’. When another hitter put a shallow line drive to the left-center gap, Fox said ‘you better hope I’m not in the outfield’. I guess Fox can make that claim for almost any position on the field.
UPDATE 1:05 PM: The following minor league pitchers will be throwing bullpen sessions today: Stetson Allie, Nathan Baker, Ryan Beckman, Matt Benedict, Victor Black, Rodolfo Cardenas, Kyle Cofield, Brian Tallet, Brandon Cumpton, Jose Diaz, Zack Dodson, Michael Dubee, Luis Heredia, Quinton Miller, Aaron Pribanic, and Casey Sadler.
The pitchers throw in groups, with 7-9 going at the same time. So it will be hard to watch all of them. I’ll definitely be focused on Allie, Heredia, and Dodson.
UPDATE 4:11 PM: Some pictures from the bullpen sessions:
Diaz is built more like an offensive lineman than a pitcher, but he’s got a great arm, and that was apparent today, even without a radar gun. I didn’t get a chance to see much of Allie or Heredia, since they were on the other side of the bullpen from where I was standing.
I watched Quinton Miller’s bullpen. His fastball looked good, and he had a few very good pitches in there where he hit his spot perfectly. Miller has been plagued by injuries and poor performance the last few years. He was throwing well last year prior to his injury for the 2011 season.