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Monday, January 21, 2013

New Glove

I got a new glove when I was down in California.

My dad, nephew and I were headed back to the house after a glorious burger at In N Out when dad wanted to stop at Dick's Sporting Goods on the way back.  He wanted to get a glove so he could play catch with my youngest nephew Josh.  He thought when Josh was then old enough, he could give him the glove.

Makes sense.  Josh is super into baseball and football.  He's really into sports of all kinds and it turns out he's pretty good!  I think he's more football than baseball, but baseball has a pretty good place in his heart.  Here's a picture:

He's a good dude.  Anyway, dad loves playing catch with him.

Dad told me at Dick's that he would really love to buy me a great glove.  I had told him a few months ago that my old Mizuno outfield glove was one strong line drive away from tearing through the pocket. It's almost 10  years old and has seen heavy use so I suppose that's probably about right.

I spent a pretty strong 45 minutes picking out the right glove.  It's a Rawlings for the first time. I've always used Mizunos, but the Rawlings felt really good this time around.

Anyway, when we got back to the house, we both loosened up the laces a bit and then did something we hadn't done in ages.  We went out back and played catch on the patio...for probably about 20 minutes.

That was the patio that I used to throw on when I was a kid.  I would spend as much time as I could pitching to my dad.  I would toe up at the edge of the iceplant and deliver to the now-enclosed dining room (formerly outdoor deck).  Dad would dutifully catch me as often as he could.

If dad wasn't around, I would throw a tennis ball against the side of the house as often as I could.  I figured I would work on throwing hard and then fielding as well.  That was back when I could actually field a ground ball.

At any rate, that day brought me solidly back to my childhood and my love of baseball that I've had as long as I can remember.

It's one of those things that I'll always look back on and remember really fondly.  I just thought I'd mention this.  I know it's not TJ related really, but it was special to me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bullpen and BP on Saturday

As I've mentioned, we've been holding some BP and bullpen sessions on Saturdays down at Newport High School.

By the way, Newport is another crazy good secret spot.  The cages are always unlocked. They're undercover.  They are lit. There are L-Screens already there.  They even have the nice sturdy wooden mounds. This is a great place that's centrally located and always available. 

They also maintain this place.  They don't let it rot like Lake Washington does. Plus, the janitor guy is there every Saturday morning and he's always painting.  I don't know how many more coats of paint the interior needs, but apparently it's a lot.  We think he likes his quiet Saturdays working in the office upstairs and uses "painting" to get away from his family.  

Had another good session hitting the ball.  I think having no pain is a gigantic deal. You don't realize how lousy you feel until you don't feel it.

Throwing wasn't as successful.  I didn't feel great and I couldn't figure out what it was.  I'm guessing it was something with my mechanics, but I had no idea what.  It was frustrating either way. My targeting was mediocre and velocity was way down.  

It's a bummer and probably a case of "Don't worry about it, you'll get there." However when you're trying to throw the heat and it's just not there...that's a mighty odd feeling.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Throwing from the flats

Well, alrighty!

Even though I'm throwing further and further every day, Ken has cleared me to throw once a week from flat ground at 60 feet.  No mound and "fastballs" only, but it's a start.  I feel ready to roll this way in a lot of ways.  I'm excited to get the velocity, accuracy and movement back.

I'm still being encouraged to work my way up to 150 feet which is basically a bit further than across the diamond.  I'm at 120 now and confident and can let it fly pretty good from then.

This brings up the question I always get asked about pitching.  What's the difference between pitching and throwing.

Throwing is where you hit an area form a longer ways away.  Not difficult, but not as easy as you might thing.  Pitching is determining where your throw will go within an inch and with repeatable mechanics.  My mechanics could be way off during a throw in from the outfield and I'll still make it whereas when I pitch...well, not the same case.

Mechanics in pitching are much tougher to correct.  You can't simply correct on the fly or count on your partner to adjust enough to make it effective. When playing the outfield, the cutoff player can adjust and react appropriately.

At any rate, I'm all about building arm strength now.  I'm continuing the conditioning program every day as well as progressing in the throwing program.

The goal is to be back and throwing from the mound in April.  I have about 6-8 weeks of flat ground training ahead and then it's really back to the mound for bullpens. I'm projecting being able to throw out of the 'pen for the first part of the year and then re-evaluate after July.

Phew! There is still a lot of work ahead, but there is so much behind me too.  It's a huge relief!

Pardon the pun.