Results tagged ‘ Mike Matheny ’

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.”



Wednesday camp tidbits: That was… oddly normal

Greetings from Jupiter, where the locals are complaining about the chill, thanks to overnight temps below 50 and highs in the mid-60s. Rest assured, your correspondent is NOT among those complaining.

It was the last relatively quiet day on the field, with players going through informal workouts. Tomorrow brings the first structured pitchers-and-catchers workout. For those of you coming out to watch, don’t expect to see anything before about 10:30 a.m. ET. Usually, workouts start in the 9 o’clock hour, but pitchers and catchers undergo physicals tomorrow morning before the work starts.
Anyway, on with the tidbits.
* The most heavily-reported story today, of course, was Mark McGwire’s arrival. I know many of you are tired of it, and honestly, I’ll be happy myself when I’m writing more about position battles and less about what the hitting coach did 12 years ago.
With that said, though, I do believe that there were still legitimate, fair and relevant questions that had yet to be asked and answered. And quite a few of them were asked, and answered, this afternoon.
I have a full story on this on the site today, so if you’re interested, please do go check it out. In addition to that, a couple of things.
First, personally, I was impressed with McGwire today. He was relaxed, at ease, thoughtful. He answered every question, mostly of them with some depth and thoroughness. It was exactly the kind of session that should have happened a month ago at the Hyatt, but instead that day turned into largely a matter of who could shout the loudest.
He talked not only about steroids but coaching. I’m sure that in some corners, it still won’t be enough, but for me, I feel like I’ve had my opportunity, asked the questions I felt needed to be asked (or someone else asked them while I was there) and gotten the answers I’m going to get. For me, personally, I’m ready to be asking McGwire about baseball when I interview him at all.
Second, there was one quote that I didn’t get in the story that I thought was relevant. McGwire was asked about a topic he’s mentioned before: whether, when and how he plans to follow up on his stated desire to educate and warn kids about steroids. Here was his response:
“I do that stuff privately. I’ve always done charitable stuff privately and talked to people privately. That’s the thing about me. I’ve never wanted to do anything just to have a camera in my face and say, ‘This is what I’m doing.’ I think doing private things is really good. I’ve done it basically my whole life.
“When you see a kid smile and they really appreciate when you say things, don’t follow in my footsteps of what I’ve done, steroids and performance-enhancing stuff is terrible for anybody to even think about doing it. I was wrong. I’m so very sorry. I don’t know how many times I’m going to say that, but I am. I truly am.”
* As the last day before full p-and-c workouts begin, today was fairly sparsely attended by big-name veterans. Chris Carpenter made a cameo, for example, but Adam Wainwright was not seen. As of tomorrow, they’re on the clock. So even guys who have been working out down here are happy to take the day. 
* One guy notable by his presence is Skip Schumaker. He was not only present but out on the field, working out and hitting in the cage with McGwire. It’s possible that I missed someone, but by my count, Schumaker was the only infielder or outfielder with a secure job who is not coming back from injury who got out on the field today. Most of the other non-catcher hitters who are here are guys like Joe Mather, Nick Stavinoha (who is catching some) and David Freese.
* As I tweeted yesterday, Mike Matheny is down once again to help out the coaching staff. Matheny said his tenure in Florida is open-ended, but don’t read too much into that. Matheny is still likely a good ways away from a coaching job — being a dad is definitely still his top priority.
* Ryan Ludwick arrived by town car late this afternoon, after nearly everyone was gone. Another impressively early arrival.
Today’s playlist:
Rhett Miller, “I Want to Live”
Lucero, “Sixes and Sevens”
The Hold Steady, “Sequestered in Memphis”
Drive-By Truckers, “Three Dimes Down”
The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”