Catchers, more on Blake Beavan and travel notes
Greetings from a sunny, too sunny for Adam Kennedy, Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. Scratch that. This is now the Overstock.com Coliseum or as the billboard states on the scoreboard O.co Coliseum. Ok.
Beautiful morning. While this place lacks any charm whatsoever it is one of my favorite places to watch pre game for day games. It is usually sunny, they play great music and the stand are empty so it is quiet. It almost has a back field at spring training feel to it. The Mariners did take batting practice today, probably not a bad idea considering how quiet their bats have been.
Before batting practice Miguel Olivo ran a series of running drills under the watch of trainer Rick Griffin and coach Jeff Datz. Miguel was so happy after the drill he gave both big hugs. He’s a hugger, no doubt about it.
Why was he so happy?
“Because I can run,” he said. “That’s big.”
Olivo participated in batting practice and caught a bullpen and looks to be very close to a return. Eric Wedge said it could be as soon as tomorrow. So Josh Bard is out there today for a fifth straight game. Hopefully Wedge and crew like what they see from Bard because it is hard to imagine Olivo keeping up the same pace in the second half that he did in the first. Think there is a reason Olivo has always been a first half player? Right now he is on pace to catch 135 games. His history has been to catch the majority of his innings in the first half. Post All Star break his numbers take a huge dive. It would be nice to see him get more days off and Bard looks more than capable of carrying some of the load right now. The pitchers certainly have a good comfort level with him as well.
Olivo isn’t the only one missing from the lineup today. Franklin Gutierrez is getting what Wedge called a work day today. Wedge pulled Guti into the office today for a chat about his offense. Wedge is completely happy with his defense but wants to see more with the bat. He has seen him throughout his career both in good times and bad and this is definitely the latter. Wedge is confident health is not an issue and feels that perhaps things have been snowballing a bit for Guti offensively after failing to get off to a good start. He should be back in the lineup Tuesday.
Moving on…Blake Beavan was my pre game guest and he was still basking in the thrill of his first big league win. Beavan has a very interesting story that I wrote about this spring. The brash teen has been replaced by a mellow twenty-two year old with his eyes wide open.
“I’m going to take it day in while I am up here and soak everything up and pick all these guys brains,” he said before today’s game. “Fister, Jamey Wright, League, Felix, they all have been around for awhile. Some of the stuff that when they were coming up what they tried to get better at.”
It was good to see Beavan’s velocity on the fastball at 93 at times yesterday. He was a power pitcher before being drafted by the Rangers. When the Rangers got their hands on him Rick Adair, the organizational pitching coordinator, did not like his mechanics and changed them. The result? His fastball dropped from 95-97 occasionally topping out at 99-100 to 85-87. It has been a slow climb to that 93 but in the process he has learned to pitch. He is still learning.
“I am still trying to develop my curve ball and get confidence with that pitch going forward whether it is is in the big leagues or minors. Just trying to get better day in day out at everything,” he said.
Whether or not he has one, two or perhaps more starts in Seattle this year remains to be seen. For now he has his first big league win and the trappings that come with that.
“I got the lineup card and my first strikeout ball,” he said. “I will have my wife take them home. She gave me one room in our house to put all of my stuff, kind of like a man cave area. It is going to be my video game/ memorabilia room (laughs).”
Sounds like a plan.
Strange travel notes…Most areas/cities that have multiple teams avoid having them playing at home at the same time. We rarely run into other teams on the road. That is not the case this week. Not only are the Padres in town to take on the Giants but they are staying at the same hotel as the team. First time in the nine years I have traveled with the team that I have seen that and we are going to see it again. When we return here later in the season the Diamondbacks will be in town playing the Giants. I don’t think U2 has anything to do with this.
One other travel note. It is a near miracle we are on the air today. Producer/engineer Kevin Cremin missed the Padres series to attend a family celebration in Oklahoma. His duties were assumed by his substitute but in addition to running the broadcast the sub had to pack the travel cases and send them on the trip. There were several jokes that the equipment could get sent to the wrong park with two trucks for SF loading at Safeco after Sunday’s game. That didn’t happen but key pieces of equipment were not sent. Like the sound board for starters. Not good. Cremin who had been worrying about opening cases he had not packed for the better part of yesterday got to the park early this morning just in case anything went wrong. Good thing! He was able to borrow the necessary equipment from some of the local sound people here and all is well that ends well. We are on the air. I think.