Monday Warm-Up tidbits: Matheny edition
Mike Matheny chatted with us for nearly 20 minutes today. Once again, there will be a little more on the site later today, but here are some of the bullet points from his session:
* On whether Spring Training will feature any particular emphasis:
“We’re going to hit baserunning hard again. Baserunning for pitchers as well. A lot of little things like bunting. There’s going to be a lot of bunting going on. There’s going to be a lot of situational hitting. There’s going to be team fundamentals. I think it’s going to cover the whole game.
“Even a lot of the players said they’d like to have more focus on breaking down things [about baserunning].”
(And before you freak out, I didn’t take this to mean they’d be sacrificing a lot during the season necessarily; just that they’ll work on bunting in Spring Training)
* On whether he’s sorted out a lineup yet:
“I’ve been writing lineups since the day I got the job. Got some projections going, potential guys, and it was nice to add another one in there. One with Furcal and two with Beltran. Start to play around with that. The lineup is going to kind of be fluid as you head into Spring Training. You don’t want to write that until you get there and see how guys kind of mix in together and how they gel.”
* Asked whether Carlos Beltran is a significant variable in the lineup, given that he has both table-setting and middle-of-the-order skills:
“I do see it that way. I see him being somebody that, if his legs are right, he could certainly fill that two hole. I’m an advocate of trying to get your best hitters up as many times as you possibly can. That’s just playing some good numbers. But you also have to look at the ability to drive in 100 runs, and he’s been a run producer in the past. You just kind of have to watch how it goes. You have to watch how he’s moving too. You want to be able to make sure that his knees are working to the point that he can be scored when he does get on first base. But the high on-base percentage mixed with power mixed with the knack of knocking in a big run gives you the flexibility to put him just about everywhere.”
* Matheny repeatedly referred to the second-base mix as a three-man competition, including Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene and Skip Schumaker. That’s a bit of a departure from some of what we heard earlier in the winter, when it sounded like Schumaker wasn’t really in the picture at second.
* On Beltran’s health and what it means to him playing center field:
“I think he’s going to over-deliver on what the expectations are of what his body is going to be able to hold. I just need to listen to the medical staff and also Carlos and his body of how we can use him, and center field may be a little more demanding than right field would be.”