With my vacation from work officially here, I was finally able to take in some action down in Lakeland today. After stopping by Starbucks to grab an iced latte, the forty-five minute fog filled commute was underway.
I arrived early and coincidentally parked in the vicinity of Ryan Perry who had also just pulled in. After giving him props for his gigantic chrome & white DUB wheels I headed over to the player entrance behind the stadium.
Did I mention that it was foggy? Yeah, it was foggy too. I got there pretty early as I mentioned, so the next hour was spent watching players arrive, park and get mobbed by fans with multiple bats, balls, cards and other random memorabilia. When I say random, I’m not lying. I saw everything from figurines to t-shirts being waved in their faces. One guy was also attempting to get his Detroit Tigers apron signed. Really? an apron? (shakes head) moving on…
The players then wandered onto the field and began socializing and stretching. Within fifteen minutes or so everyone had arrived so practice had officially begun.
Shortly after practice began Audy Ciriaco arrived. Not sure what his delay was all about, it was kinda funny though.
Players then formed two groups and began stretching and things of that nature. Ummm….Brad Penny provided moral support. In a Roger Dorn sort of way it appeared as if certain calisthenics that he deemed useless were not relevant to him.
A very brief jog was next on the list. Followed by sprints and a few drills using the cones placed on the ground. This went on for about twenty minutes then they were dismissed to the three fields behind Joker Marchant Stadium.
The drills that I observed from that point forward were quite awesome. Today included fielding drills for infielders, pop-up drills, pitcher fielding drills, pick-off drills and bull pen sessions from Andrew Oliver and Ryan Perry.
All photos from the day can be viewed here. Below I will link videos from some of the drills today and random information that caught my attention. Videos are in 1080p on YouTube when in full screen mode. So go ahead, grab a beer or a cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy the show. Hopefully this can better illustrate exactly what happens here in sunny Lakeland.
- WillRhymes&CaleIorg both infielders warming up, playing catch
- The team doing a few excercises to warm up
- Jhonny Peralta, Carlos Guillen and Ramon Santiago warm up with some catch
- Fu-Te Ni and Rick Porcello practicing pick-off moves
- PFP, listen as Chris Oxspring plunks coaches
- Audy Ciriaco and Ryan Strieby in pop-up drills
- Ryan Perry bullpen session
- Andrew Oliver bullpen session
- Scott Sizemore and Carlos Guillen work with Ramon Santiago in fielding practice
- taking pictures and video through a chain link fence is a bit harder than I imagined
- Scott Sizemore was practicing on the field with the “A-Team” today. Aside from a mishap in pop-fly drills, his defense looked a tick above what I had been forced to watch his entire career. It’s early, I’m being optimistic!
- Will Rhymes was practicing with Audy Ciriaco, Cale Iorg and Ryan Strieby , could just be a coincidence but I felt it was worth mentioning that he was not with the starters today.
- There was no sign, nor mentions of Miguel Cabrera. Scott Thorman took his place in fielding drills today
- Joel Zumaya looked in great spirits and he looks healthy. Perhaps 10-15 pounds lighter than last season. I heard chatter around Lakeland that they are working with him to raise his arm angle a bit to remove pressure on his bionic arm. The beard was also very nice.
- Carlos Guillen was present for infield drills. They were light drills but he was moving around, doing his thing.
- Pop-up drills were the best part of the day. Jose Valverde is quite animated, very audible and fun to watch. Everything is exaggerated , everything!
- Pitchers Fielding drills were quite humorous. Some players fail to understand that you are to lightly toss the ball back in the direction of home plate. Coaches got hit, that’s all I’m saying…Cough/Cough, Chris Oxspring.
If you have not taken in the spring training practice I strongly advise doing so. I will be returning again tomorrow, so expect an update late in the evening.
-stay classy Tigers fans