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Feb
14
2008

Pitchers and Catchers Workout

springtraining.11111.jpgToday is the first workout day for the Cubs pitchers and catchers, so let's run through what the most important things will be for the pitchers in this camp.
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bigz.11111.jpgAh yes, time for Spring Training....the most boring part of the season for most players. Still, there is a lot to be worked on, especially for the Cubs pitchers......

- Fundamentals, Fundamentals, Fundamentals -
Remember when Carlos Zambrano used to throw all bunted balls over the head of the first baseman and Ted Lilly would charge bunts too hard and fall down? Now is the time to work on those things. You think covering first base on a ball hit to the right side of the infield is boring??? Imagine Rich Hill not doing that in the playoffs and how it would break your heart. Are you prepared for Kosuke Fukudome overthrowing Geovony Soto the first time he has a chance to throw a runner out at the plate? If you aren't, the pitchers better be. All of these things, and more, will help get the Cubs to the promised land.

- Throw Strikes - It was one of the main teaching points in camp last year and it will be again this year. It's hard to defend a walk and pitchers have to throw strikes if they want to keep their fielders on their toes. Pitchers shouldn't be walking guys to lead off innings (90% of them score) and relievers shouldn't come into the game and walk the first hitter they see. To you and me, these are obvious, but they still must be taught.

- Learn to Bunt - You had to know this was coming after I railed on Ted Lilly last season. Pitchers are pitchers but once they step into the batters box they have to contribute offensively. Too many times last season Cubs pitchers weren't able to get a bunt down to move over a baserunner or get a runner in from third base. We all know that Zambrano and Marquis can hit the ball out of the ballpark, but it will be little things, like bunting, that help the Cubs win close games.

cubs-pitcher-kerry-wood-2-15-07.jpg- Work with Geovony Soto - The Cubs will have a regular catcher that is a rookie this season, so it's up to the veterans on the staff to get with Soto and find the best way to communicate with him. Soto is known as a solid communicator and game caller but playing in the majors will be an entirely different animal. The pitchers have to be able to trust the pitches Soto calls for and Soto has to figure out the best way to get through to the entire staff, not just the starters. The Cubs also have some pitchers with some filthy stuff, so it will be key for him to get used to those pitches so that they don't end up near the bricks regularly at Wrigley.

- Relax - The Cubs are about to embark on a long journey so there is no need to crank things up just yet. There will be guys battling for spots on the staff but the key for the rest of the pitchers is to stay relaxed for as long as possible. No need to get all stressed out before the season even begins.

- Stay Healthy - Hopefully Kerry Wood stays away from all hot tubs.....and the training room as a whole. If the Cubs want to make a series run at a title, they'll need a healthy staff. The Cubs have a lot of depth but if Jon Lieber is our #1 starter in August it's going to be a long Summer. Hopefully they'll get off to the right start in Mesa with a good preventative maintenance program that will keep them healthy.
1 Comments
Cardinal70 said

Ask the Tigers of '06 if pitcher fundamentals are very important. :)

Should be a fun year in the NL Central!


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