Camp Report: Mixed day for hurlers

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – It was enough to make Willie Randolph want to throw his hands up and scream. <P> As a former infielder, Randolph doesn't pretend to be privy to the inner workings of a pitcher's mind. That didn't stop him from being frustrated Thursday, when many of his hurlers nibbled at the plate during what was supposed to be a live hitting session.

"It's just batting practice," Randolph said later. "You tell those guys to just throw strikes, but they never do. They try to get you out. I say, listen, get those other [teams] out. We're not trying to get each other out here.

"You try to impress and you overthrow, and it makes you shake your head. It's practice, man. We're trying to get work done."

After Wednesday's fast-paced, field-to-field shuffle of players, Thursday's workout session seemed to play at a little more deliberate pace. Players were also off the field earlier, with many pitchers clocking out and calling it a day by 2 p.m.

Still, Randolph is happy to take a few extra moments watching pitchers dart away from the strike zone as long as his roster emerges healthy at the end of the day.

That was the case on Day 2 of full-squad workouts, although there were close calls – Victor Zambrano plunked Doug Mientkiewicz in the back with a pitch, and first-round draft pick Philip Humber drilled Andres Galarraga on the left elbow with a sizzling fastball later in the afternoon.

"I was amped up," Humber said. "I was overthrowing a little. I'm kind of trying to stay away from [Galarraga] (in the clubhouse)."

But the Big Cat, with his massive biceps and hearty smile, was in no mood to scare the youngster – though it would have made for quite the practical joke.

He rolled up his sleeve to show reporters a swollen red sphere, which will almost certainly color nicely in the next few days.

"That was an honest mistake," Galarraga said. "He's excited and he's not ready yet. That's why were here. I'm just lucky he didn't hit me on the bone. He throws hard."

Overall, Humber fared well in his first taste of live pitcher-batter action this spring. He showed a live fastball that David Wright swung through on his first pitch – though Wright later got even with a homer inside the right field foul pole – and also showed off a beautiful curveball on several occasions.

"Damn, boy's got a hook to him," Mike Cameron said at the batting cage.

Other than the pair of plunkings – both of which drew loud oohs from a crowd of about 700 assembled behind the live batting diamond – the highlight of the day was Pedro Martinez's first appearance against Mets batters this spring.

Martinez, ever the showman, never stopped chattering as he got his work in against the trio of Ramon Castro, Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui.

Martinez's former Red Sox teammate Mientkiewicz was the only one to get to him, depositing a homer beyond the right field wall.


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