February 24, 2010 – I went out to the ballpark on Monday morning to catch the first official work-out and had a good time. There were a number of people there but not a huge crowd by any means. It was easy to get around and view the different activities on the different practice fields. I saw Jose Mijares throwing so he obviously cleaned up his visa issues and he does look considerably thinner. Jon Rauch was throwing at the same time and boy is Rauch a physically imposing figure, he is what 6″11″? By the way, Joe Mauer was in there catching some of the pitchers.
I went over to the next field and there I saw Gardy and TK running a “pitcher cover first base drill”. That is kind of fun to watch as the pitcher throws the ball to a catcher. In the mean time a coach hits another ball to a 1B who then lobs the throw to the pitcher covering first. Over and over again the same old thing, but yet sometimes during the season it looks like they never practiced it before. Gardy and TK try to make it fun and you can hear some of the banter going on back and forth. One of the things they do also is to have the coach drop a ball somewhere next to the pitcher and the pitcher has to quickly find it, pick it up and get ready to throw to first, One time Deolis Guerra was the pitcher and all of a sudden all 10 or so of the pitchers threw their balls at Guerra at the same time, there were balls everywhere and everyone got a big kick out of it including Deolis who was laughing as he threw his glove in the air.
The next field had some batting practice for the catchers and other position players that had reported early. I watched Mauer and Cuddyer hit a couple of times and they were putting a good hurt on the balls.
I was in kind of a hurry due to other plans so I didn’t go over to the minor league fields to see what was going on there but obviously some of the boys had reported early and were doing some hitting and throwing the ball around.
It appears that the players come out for stretching about 9:30 AM and practice starts about 10:00 AM. They wrap up between 11:30 and Noon and that is the best time to get pictures and autographs. The players and coaches all seem very good about that. In the picture above you can see Cuddyer as he signs and signs and signs.
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