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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Training Day 4 Recap

The weather once again was great and in the 80s, although the first hour or so was overcast. I was able to once again watch the infield defensive segment, and not much changed from yesterday. Castillo is still the quickest at turning the double play; Emaus is better than expected, and Murphy was trying to improve his quickness today, but as you'll see in the video and pictures, he was coming across the bag very early, and could easily be called off the bag and the runner called safe.
Yes, the ball isn't in his glove yet, and he is 2 feet across the bag already...

The other highlights of the day were seeing Isringhausen throw extremely well in his "first inning", and RA Dickey was terrific. Everyone gathered around to watch Dickey throw. I'm going to focus on Izzy 1st, then talk about Dickey. Izzy's 1st inning was very impressive; he was spotting his fastball on the corners, throwing his signature knuckle-curve, and also throwing a nice circle-change. The last pitch Brad Emaus saw from Isringhausen resulted in a big "Wow" from the fans and Emaus jogging out of the box after being frozen by the knucle-curve. I asked Emaus as he jogged between fields how nasty that pitch was, and he said, "it's good." I was underwhelmed by that response, as I thought it was filthy.

Izzy really looked happy after the 1st inning, but he struggled with his command in the "2nd inning." I'm not sure if he was fatigued, or maybe he was trying to work on his change-up more, but he wasn't sharp.

Jon Niese looked good, as did Oliver Perez (although I know many people don't want to hear that). Perez was balanced and not rushing his motion (he returned to the pause like he had last spring training).

As I began to say earlier, the star of the day was clearly RA Dickey. I was completely amazed by the different speeds of his knuckle-ball. There has been word that he's working on a slower knuckle-ball, which he only threw 5 times last year, but wants to throw it more this year. The response today was incredible. The batters couldn't even take the bat off their shoulders. The other thing I didn't realize until I went back through the pictures was the face Dickey makes when delivering each pitch. Metsblog noted that C Young smiles while throwing every pitch; well Dickey looks like he does a primal yell with each pitch.

I also saw Chris Young throw, but once again I was not very impressed. The velocity just doesn't seem to be there at all. I hope he really hides the ball, because if not, this could be a very long year for him. The one thing I don't understand, is that he's 6'10", but when you look at the pictures and that he 'drops and drives', he doesn't utilize his size.

That's the quick and dirty recap today. Unfortunately I think today will be the last day of Spring Training for Me (unless I get bumped by Spirit Airlines on my flight tomorrow); my fingers are crossed.

I will be posting some more videos of tonight or tomorrow of Dickey, Niese, Isringhausen and C Young (including him deflecting a hot come-backer), as well as some more 2nd base double play turns.

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