Day 6,899

Day number 6,899 give or take a few. Well, today was definately a long long day, It started off by Slowey walking in my room at 8:30 with me still sound asleep in bed. We were supposed to leave at 8:30, so I got up and scrambled to get ready. Stretch wasnt until 10, but we like to get there a little early so we can take our time, and so he can get a quick lift in and I can do some early hitting. I grabbed an energy drink and off to the field half asleep. We had BP and infield today so that will always take a little out of you, but I hate not taking BP. After that I pigged out on the spread for a little while, then got ready for the game. I got out onto the field about 12:35 to get stretched out, and sign some autographs. The game was a long one. I went 1 for 3 with a two run homerun and two walks. Had a couple plays a flyball which can always be interesting in the AZ high sky, and two ground balls. We went into extras and ended the game in a 5 to 5 tie. After the game I got a quick legs workout in the gym, and then headed for a burrito at the best place ever Moe’s Southwest Grill. On the way home we stopped by Barnes and Noble to grab a book my buddy Steve Tolleson told me about its called The Richest Man Who Ever Lived. Eventhough reading isnt my favorite thing to do, I still make sure I get a little bit in, its good for you. I apologize for not keeping up with Slowey on the blogs, he’s a pitcher he has way too much time on his hands. I will try to put 1 or 2 more in before the end of the season.

The end in sight.

      Once again, sorry for the tardiness…My family was in town this weekend, so all my down time was spent hanging out with them (awesome all around). In any case, lets begin…

    In AFL baseball news, another up and down week here in Mesa for the Solar Sox. The longer we’ve been here, the more apparent it has become that this league is chock full of parity. No one team has really separated itself from the competition, and every game seems to be a toss-up. Barring the occasional football score ( eg our 21-3 victory today over Grand Canyon), most games seem to be pretty tight affairs. Our record now stands at 12-12, trailing only the Phoenix Desert Dogs (16-8) in terms of overall record in the league. Anyway, we only have 8 games left out here in Arizona, and it looks like it might come right down to the wire.

    As for my personal performances during the week, Ive held pretty steady. Another 4 innings, 1 more run, holding my ERA at a steady 2.25. I started on Saturday on the road against the Scottsdale Scorpions. It was a pretty strong outing, but not without some minor struggles. 4 hits and a walk put runners on in every inning, so it was tough to ever fall into a groove. The only run came in the fourth when Ryan Braun and Mark Reynolds led off the inning with back to back hits. I settled down and worked out of the inning with no further damage, but it would have been nice to finish scoreless. On the whole, my experience out here has been a great one, lots of minor adjustments leading to more consistent results. It looks like I’ll end up throwing two more times out here, so ill keep you updated accordingly.

    In non AFL news, another tough week for Twins/Steelers fans. As everyone knows Francisco Liriano underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday, and will most likely miss all of the 2007 season. As bad as this is, the success rate for pitchers undergoing Tommy John is phenomenal, and we are all expecting him to pick  up right where he left off this year. As for the Steelers, another difficult defeat… I don’t even know how to describe it otherwise. I’m not sure what they need to change, but it seems like ‘a lot’ about sums it up..

    Anyway, that’s all for now… we actually have a guest blogger in this week.. so stay tuned for an update from super utility man Matt Tolbert. See you soon.

Another Off Day in the Books….

    Well, another Sunday, another entry. Not really too much to report on here in Mesaville, Az, but here’s the rundown….

     The last week in baseball out here was pretty mundane. The Mesa Solar Sox posted a very run of the mill 2-3 record. We dropped three straight games to start the week, which wasn’t too smooth. Now, the Fall League certainly isn’t all about our W-L record, but winning is way more fun that losing. Anyway, we finished the week with back-to-back wins… way better. I only pitched in one of the games, at home on Wednesday, against Scottsdale. I came out the the bullpen to throw one inning, as I was slated to go to Surprise on Saturday to participate in the "AFL Rising Stars Showcase". The inning started a little shaky, but I escaped only giving up one hit and one hit batsmen… no serious damage. As for the "Rising Stars" game, I was a fantastic spectator.. I ended up not throwing, but still collected my part of the $500-a-head winners purse ( not too shabby).

      In non-AFL news this week, the San Louie Cardinals cleaned house to win the World Series. I wasn’t really pulling for either team, but I was happy to see a buddy of mine, Skip Schumaker, on the Cardinals bench during the whole Series.

    Off the field news this week includes the Steelers dropping another game, this time in Oakland….bad news all around. Also, a handful of guys (including myself) went to the theater to see "The Prestige"… one of the best movies Ive seen in a long time, I highly recommend it.  That’s all for now… be back in a few.

Lots of things.

And we’re back. Sorry its been so long since the last post, the internet connection here at our place has been less than tremendous. In any case, there are plenty of notes on the past week to fill everyone in on. Lets start with baseball.

  Since we last posted, the Mesa Solar Sox have been en fuego, winning  4 of 5 to bring our record to a hugely respectable 6-5. As you can see, we can no longer claim a ‘tie’ on our record, as we resumed and completed that game yesterday ( with an 8-7 victory in a record 17 innings…don’t mind if we do). So, with all of our games completed we are just one game behind Phoenix ( at 7-4). Granted 11 games is hardly a substantial sample size, but the whole team seems to be playing much better, and more comfortably if that makes any sense. Maybe we just needed a little time to get started.

  Personally Ive had two outings since my last post. My first outing, against the Peoria Javelinas, was a little shaky . I came out of the pen in relief of Errol Simonitsch with 2 outs and runners on first and second. I worked out of it with no real problem, but the next inning was a bit more exacting. I couldn’t seem to locate anything but a fastball, and the hitters were all over it. Three hits later I snuck out of the inning on a line-drive double play, giving up only one run, but hitting a lot of barrels. The next couple days during pre-game I tried to work on breaking ball command off to the side while BP was going on, and I think its helped get things back into working order. My second outing came yesterday in the 12,13,and 14th innings of our 17 inning game in Surprise. Oddly enough, the 12th through 14th innings afforded me a chance to start the game, instead of come out of the pen. Having already completed 11 innings, I warmed up for the 12th as though it were the 1st, so when we resumed play I felt like a starter again. Anyway, I threw three good innings, only giving up one hit and walking one guy. ( I hate walks, but these hitters are too good to just throw stuff right down the middle to). After I came out, we brought in Mark McLemore, who held Surprise scoreless for three more innings until our offense broke through to finally win the game.

  In non-baseball news, the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers just scored again in Atlanta to take a 17-7 lead midway through the 2nd quarter. Big Ben looked much improved last week in the Kansas City massacre, and is looking on point today. My fellow Steeler fans Jonathan Mayo and Larry ‘the shark’ Bennese never had any doubts. Larry, by the way, has been dominating the training room at Hohokam Park, keeping all of us game-ready. Anyway, everything else here in Mesa/Scottsdale is pretty regular, great weather and lots of baseball with the occasional mall trip or movie run mixed in. Thats all for now, feel free to post some questions or comments and Ill respond to them whenever I get the chance. Back to the Steelers game…..

Off Day

  Ok, its an off day… The first one since we have been here, which is actually pretty similar to our regular season schedule (12 games 1 off day, more or less). Anyway, after last night’s game Dave and I snuck a quick work out in before heading back to the condo. We both caught up on some sleep this morning before setting out to find clippers for some in-clubhouse haircuts. After an afternoon lounge out by the pool we are both just hanging out here watching the Cards-Mets game.

   As for this weeks games, they didnt go quite as well as we wanted as a team, with our record just 1-3-1 at the moment. Yes we have ties in this league, and no I didnt know that until the end of the 11th in Suprise when our whole dugout started packing up to head out. It turns out we actually don’t tie, but instead the game was ‘suspended’ until we play Suprise again, the rule is really just in place to protect a team that might run out of pitchers at the end of the game. Our lone win on the week came against Suprise at home, but all of our games have been pretty close. Also, unlike most of the other games in the league, all of our games have been relatively low-scoring. No real clue as to why its been that way, but it has.

   Personally, I threw twice during the past week, both outings coming out of the pen. To tell you the truth, Im still kinda getting used to relief pitching. The whole ‘ getting warm in-game’ is still odd for me, so Ive just been leaving myself as much time as possible. Anyway, both outings went pretty well. I threw a scoreless ninth to pick up the save in our win over Suprise ,and then came in for 2.2 in my second outing ( 3 hits, 1 run). Neither outing was great, but everything seems to be coming along, so we shall see I guess. 

Thats all for now, time to get back to the game….. David Wright just went deep to put the Mets on top 2-1 in St Louis. Hes pretty good at baseball….
Be back in a couple days.


Round 1

Well, the day started off just like any other day this week. Woke up about 7:00 and headed straight to the kitchen obviously to head for a granola bar or two. I don’t like to eat too much for breakfest unless it is on a day off. Slowey and I headed to Hohokam Park and our brand new sleek Dodge Caliber rental. It may be the slowest car in the history of automobiles. I think about 4 cylinders tops, but its great on gas. We arrived at the field slowly but surely, headed to straight to my locker to get ready for some early hitting. After some early hitting with out hitting coach JT and some guys on the team I head back in to relax and grab a Gatorade nutritional shake. We are really taken care off in the clubhouse as far as anything we need or want. I couldnt ask for anymore. At 10 we headed off to the field on a charter bus as always two to a seat me and Matt Moses two Va. boys together. Matt was getting the start that day at third. So I sat around just taking everything in for the first 5 innings. I came in at third for Matt in the 6th. A little nerves were flowing the field was a litle faster than normal and we all know defense is not the strongest part of my game. I got an at bat in the 9th not exactly your ideal one 3 pitches, I took the change-up for a strike, and two check swing sliders for strikes. I was def. hoping to see a fastball at least one since I havent seen pitching in 3 weeks. Oh well though rough at bat it wont be the last. Thats why its a great sport  because we have another game today. After the game we headed out to Zipps Sports Bar and Grill to play a little shuffle board and pool. We were there to watch the Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock UFC fight it ended up being about a 2:23 minute fight with Ortiz dominating the fight. I def. wanted the vet. Shamrock to win. I headed home after that to relax and talk a little baseball with Slowey trying to figure out how pitchers think. Def. a huge advantage to rooming with a pitcher. Then off to bed for about a 9 hour sleep since we gladly had a night game the next day. Until the next time…..


          Alrighty, we’re back. The last couple of days here in Arizona have been packed schedule wise. Monday morning was our last ‘workout’ at the field and the atmosphere was pretty laid-back. Winny (Winfree) and I left our place at around 7:30 to get us to the field at 8 for a 9:00 practice. After signing some baseballs and cards for fans on the way in (talk about die-hard, anyone who is up at 7:45am just asking for an autograph is a serious fan, and guys always take the time to sign their stuff)..sorry for the aside.. in any case, after making it into the clubhouse I wandered into the kitchen for some breakfast, mostly just cereal, toast and stuff. The clubhouse attendants here really do a great job of making sure all kinds of food is always available.
       Practice itself was pretty light, stretch throw and shag really about sums it up. I long tossed and got a good short pen in towards the end of BP, still a little rusty from the 3 weeks off, but pretty good all around. After practice a handful of players (the Twins contingent included) stuck around to lift in the clubhouse gym… way easier than having to go to a local Fitness Club.
       I spent the rest of my day hanging out with my Dad who was in on business, which was great. The company he works for has offices all over the country which affords him the chance to "call on some offices" in just about any city I might be in for baseball. Anyway, hes the man and its great whenever we get a chance to hang out…

    That’s all for Monday.. I’m going to get Dave to write about Tuesday, our first game, and everything he has been up to here in Arizona.

Welcome home..

        Or something like that…. Well I left Durham this morning on a7:30 flight non-stop to Phoenix. ( Just a note: Southwest Airlines is
the stupidest, and their check-in/boarding group procedures are
straight out of the  How to be an Idiot Handbook ) Anyway,
after a pretty easy flight in, I took the shuttle to beautiful HoHoKam
Park for our 9-10:30 workout. We pulled into the park just in time to
sneak in some light long toss and running before calling it a day. I
didn’t really get a chance to introduce myself to any of the other guys
on the team, but we have another ‘ workout ‘ tomorrow so Im sure Ill
get to know a few of them.
     After the practice fake-out, I showered up and headed out to one
of the many Arizona malls with Matt Tolbert, David Winfree, and Matt
Moses.. all Twins, and future blog authors. The mall trip wasn’t really
anything to speak of and we finished up the day with the other
prerequisite move-in chores : unpacking/grocery
shopping/cleaning/laundry.. you name it.
     That’s all for now, ill try to get some pictures up of the place
if I can figure out the html password, digi-code, or whatever its