KB here…I’d love to say that I’m writing this from Florida, but alas, Jason and I have returned to the not-as-warm North. The good news? It’s 70 and sunny today on Long Island, and I hear it’s about the same in Syracuse. I’ll be 315-bound in a couple of days, so that’s great news. We’ll be rolling out a couple of new videos from Florida in the next few days. Here’s Jason with likely Chiefs relievers Lee Hyde and Jeff Mandel to start it off.
It’s our last full day here in Florida. While the thought of attempting to miss tomorrow’s flight sounds tempting–six straight days of glowing sunlight is a beautiful thing–…..there actually may not be a suitable predicate to that sentence. Here are some notes that have come up in the last 24 hours:
-The Nationals and Marlins played to a 1-1 tie yesterday at Space Coast Stadium. The Nats had runners at the corners with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, but a baserunning error turned a Jhonatan Solano lineout into a double play.
-Stopped over to the minor-league complex for a while and caught up with a few former Chiefs including Lee Hyde and Jeff Mandel. In a camp full of relief pitchers, they’re hopeful they’ll be back in Syracuse this year.
-A few days ago, we mentioned Erik Arnesen here as someone who got caught in the numbers game in 2011 and spent the vast majority of the season in Double-A. He threw in an intrasquad game yesterday and gave up a few hits (official stats aren’t kept).
-As Arnesen came off the field, he strode right over to a stroller behind home plate. He picked up his son Arik and walked back to the clubhouse. Later, we got a chance to chat with Erik’s wife Heidi who explained that Arik is an old Norse name. They’re lovely people and we hope to see them in Syracuse this year.
-Here’s a story from the venerable Washington Post scribe Dave Sheinin on Steve Lombardozzi, who may make the Nats as we discussed yesterday: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/lombardozzi-states-his-case-for-making-team/2012/03/16/gIQAMn9BHS_blog.html
-Henry Rodriguez still throws hard.
-Neat moment late in yesterday’s game when Donovan Solano came to the plate for Miami with brother Jhonatan catching for the Nats. Kevin noted that it didn’t seem like Jhonatan said anything to his sibling at the plate. And that’s exactly what happened. When we asked Jhonatan after the game if he said anything, even under his breath, he said, “No. When we play, no.”
-The Chiefs play at 1:05 today. We’ll split our time there and over at Space Coast.
Good morning everyone. The Nats host the Marlins today….we’ll be headed over to the minor-league complex in a little bit to see what’s happening over there.
A few people have asked why we’re headed to the major-league games so often, rather than the Triple-A games which started Thursday. The reasons are twofold. First, the major-league roster is still above 40. So, a good chunk of the players who are still in major-league camp will end up with the Chiefs. Those players will likely make up more than half the roster. Down the same lines, some minor-league camp guys get taken along for the big-league games periodically to help fill out the travel roster (Seth Bynum got two at-bats in the ten-inning game in Tampa yesterday). In addition, the minor-league games are less-structured than major-league games. Quite often the scores don’t even get reported. It’s essentially a scrimmage whereas the major-league games are exhibition/preseason games. That said, we’ll be venturing to the minor-league games for at least part of the next few days. Other notes:
*Alex Rodriguez crushed a pitch from Craig Stammen over the left-field wall yesterday to tie the game at three. Ran into Craig after the game and he said he thought he actually made a pretty good pitch. He asked Alex why he would do such a thing to a good pitch. Rodriguez said wryly, “I’m just trying to make the team.” Those, by the way, were the first runs Stammen had allowed all spring.
*Former Chief Gustavo Molina is still hanging around at Yankees camp. A good guy, and a great target behind the plate.
*Got a chance to chat with ex-Chief Justin Maxwell before the game. He’s in his second season with the Yankees. He’s on his third round through early fatherhood, with his household now comprised of two sons and a daughter. All of the kids are under four. Maxwell’s 7-for-17 this spring. He’s out of minor-league options, so the Yankees have a decision to make.
*Gio Gonzalez is fun to watch up close. The lefty who the Nationals got for Chief favorites Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock throws mid-90s without great effort. A few Yankees started their swings when the ball was reaching the glove.
*In the first inning, Steve Lombardozzi cracked a single right past C.C. Sabathia’s mound. Later, he made a whale of a diving play at third. He could very easily make the big-league team.
*The Yankees bring their major-league P.A. announcer down to Tampa for the spring. A classy operation, except for the parking attendants who all seemed to have swigged a bottle of lemon juice before coming to work.
*Good to see Randy Knorr take out the lineup card and Trent Jewett coach first. They couldn’t be more different people–as shown by Jewett releasing Knorr in 2000–but they were both strategic managers in Syracuse who had the respect of their players.
Talk to you on Twitter @ChiefsRadio or right here on the blog.
The Nats made another round of cuts yesterday, some of which are quite likely to affect the Chiefs’ roster. As a side note, the term “cuts” in this case means from the major=league roster. These players are still under team control, but are now in minor=league camp:
*Yunesky Maya. Last year’s Opening Day starter in Syracuse allowed two earned runs in four innings this MLB spring. It’s still up in the air, it seems, as to whether or not Maya will be a starter. There were some rumblings about making him a long reliever last year.
*Jeff Fulchino. A veteran of 163 MLB games with the Astros, Marlins and Royals, Fulchino didn’t give up a run in four spring innings. He’s got nine MLB victories.
*Waldis Joaquin. He allowed only one run in the three innings he worked this spring. In 19 major-league games in his career, Joaquin has a 5.40 ERA. All of those appearances have come with the Giants.
Fulchino and Joaquin will likely be members of the Chiefs’ bullpen.
-Chien-Ming Wang looked good yesterday before straining his hamstring covering first. He struck out Brett Gardner on a nasty splitter.
-John Lannan–who does have an option remaining (meaning that he could be sent down to the minors without having to pass through waivers)–did not look good. He coughed up four earned runs in four innings.
-The woman behind me had a Nationals staffer with a radar gun sit next to her. She peppered him with questions. “Where does the gun go when it’s done being used?” she asked. She also said that she thought radar gun-holder would be a great retirement occupation. Poor guy.
-Jim Strasburg, Stephen’s father, sat a row in front of us for the first few innings. Was conversing with Bob Boone’s wife Sue about San Diego where they both grew up.
-The “Danger Will Robinson” sound effect is rather fun for a foul ball.
-Had dinner with new Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Ryan Pye Thursday night. He’s from the Atlanta area and pitched in college. A fine addition to the staff.
Today, we’ll be in Tampa for Nats-Yankees. Talk to you then either here or on Twitter @ChiefsRadio.
Here’s the second set of pictures from our trip to spring training. They’re from today’s Nationals/Yankees game from Space Coast Stadium in Viera, the home of the Nats’ spring training complex.
That’s all for tonight. Jason’ll have some thoughts tomorrow morning.
Hello Chiefs fans – here’s a look at some pictures taken by our crack photography staff (also known as me and Jason) during the Nationals’ last two games. The first set is from Washington’s trip to the Atlanta Braves at the Wide World of Disney ESPN Complex from yesterday, March 14, and the second set is from Washington’s home game against the New York Yankees from today, March 15. Here’s our first set…
Some odds and ends before we bring you coverage on the blog and on Twitter of Nationals vs Yankees today at 1.
-The Chiefs begin their spring training schedule today in Kissimmee against the Triple-A Astros, the Oklahoma City Redhawks. We’ll get you updates on what happened there.
-The Nationals face the Yankees in Viera today in the first of a home-and-home. Michael Pineda opposes Chien-Ming Wang on the mound. First time Wang’s faced his former team (not including Chiefs games against Scranton).
-On possible Chief alert, Chad Tracy hit a home run in yesterday’s Nats 6-5 loss to the Braves. He’s got eight RBI on five hits this spring. Tracy, who’s never been in the big leagues, has hit at least 17 homers in his last four seasons.
-Carlos Maldonado looks good. He drove in a run in yesterday’s game against the Braves in Orlando.
-Here’s a nice story on Bryce Harper from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/bryce-harper-plays-center-clarifies-approach-to-making-nationals-eager-to-face-yankees/2012/03/14/gIQAqAe4CS_blog.html
-On Harper, fans jeered him with pleasure last night. When the Braves successfully fielded a Harper groundout, one local yelled “show that young buck how it’s done.”
-Boy did Dan Uggla put a hurt on a Stephen Strasburg fastball early yesterday. The video board in right-center had just displayed a graphic about Uggla’s career high in homers in 2011 when he did his damage.
Talk to you later with more stuff.
Hope everyone is doing well up north. And we hope you got a chance to take a look at our interview with Ryan Tatusko from yesterday in this space.
Kevin and I spent the day yesterday at the Nationals’ minor-league complex, and a chunk of the evening at the Nationals’ big-league game just down the road. From that, here’s this:
-If you’ve never been to spring training, here’s the essential modus operandi. The players in big-league camp (the ones with lockers in Space Coast Stadium) do less day-to-day work than the minor-leaguers. The big-league players spend their days, essentially, preparing for their game that night. The minor-leaguers have a routine that’s more instruction-heavy. Minor-league players arrive to camp at roughly 6 AM for drills and conditioning. Yesterday, they broke for lunch at 11:45 and began intrasquad games at 1. There are four fields in your typical cloverleaf pattern (think little league park) where, at some times, four games are going on at once.
-The Chiefs coaching staff is quite frequently on the big-league side assisting with the Nationals. Tony Beasley and Greg Booker, in anticipation of the game at 6:05 with the Tigers, left yesterday at 2:15.
-Speaking of the staff, you all are going to, I think, enjoy watching them work. Greg Booker is back as the pitching coach, so that means Syracuse pitchers can expect analytical, driven instruction intermixed with Beatles lyrics for most of the season. You’ve heard us talk to the players about him: they rave about Booker’s eye for teaching points. The new manager, Tony Beasley, from all accounts, is a genuinely nice and serene guy. We’ve been told that he’s as level-headed as a manager gets. And the new hitting coach up from Double-A, Troy Gingrich, has drawn high marks from players who have worked with him. One former Harrisburg Senator told me that Troy helped him more in two weeks one year than he’s learned in entire seasons elsewhere.
-Booker has sprouted a moustache and spindly beard. He looks like his own evil twin.
-The Nationals sent Edwin Jackson to the mound last night. He’s emblematic of how this team has changed. As recently as ’09, the first season the Chiefs were affiliated with the Nats, Jackson might have been the one or two starter for the team. Now, he’s at the back of the rotation. This is going to likely trickle down to the Chiefs. Guys like Erik Arnesen–who posted a 2.43 ERA in Double-A last year–are not guaranteed a spot with the Chiefs.
-Got to chat with Randy Knorr yesterday for a few minutes. The Chiefs’ former manager thinks he’s going to learn quite a bit from Davey Johnson, who’s managed five MLB teams and won the World Series in ’86 with the Mets. “He sees everything,” Knorr told us.
-Ran into Craig Stammen in the Nats’ clubhouse during the game yesterday. He got engaged during the offseason. Congrats to Craig. Baseball-wise, he’s thrown five scoreless innings so far this spring.
-On the engagement front, Ryan Tatusko is also getting hitched.
-Former Chief Luis Ordaz will be coaching in Auburn for the second-straight year.
More from me and KB on Twitter @ChiefsRadio and soon on the blog. The Nats are in Orlando tonight to play the Braves. The Triple-A schedule begins tomorrow in Kissimmee with a date against the Triple-A Astros.
Hello from sunny and gorgeous Viera, Chiefs fans. We’ve been down here for two days now and it’s safe to say this is one of the best places on Earth. We may not come back for a little while.
Anyway, we walked around the minor league complex today and talked with players and coaches from the Nationals organization alike. The mood is certainly sunny around the camp – and it’s always sunny when chatting with Chiefs reliever Ryan Tatusko. (And in Philadelphia.) Here’s a video look at what’s new with Ryan.
Be sure to let us know what you’d like to hear or see from spring training. Shoot us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.