Lake Elsinore Storm Notebook

Lake Elsinore, CA: The Lake Elsinore Storm entered Saturday's game riding a five-game win streak and the team is feeling the effect of their victorious ways. Several pitchers were throwing bullpen sessions and a strange moment in batting practice...

  • From hitting streaks to pitcher's feeling better about their stuff, the team has begun to gel. This was evident in the pre-game practice session, as teammates were joking with each other and having fun.

    A loose team is well prepared for the rigors of a season. The energy is evident, allowing players to feed off each other. It is something that should not be taken lightly – look at the Fort Wayne TinCaps of 2009 and the San Antonio Missions team this year – one that has been together for years and the energy permeates throughout the clubhouse.

    "We all kind of went through a funk and our team went through a funk," right-hander Jerry Sullivan explained. "Right now, our chemistry and synergy has gone up and the confidence has gone up with it, translating to on the field performance."

    "Everyone is starting to feel better," first baseman Nate Freiman added. "People are starting to hit, we are playing good defense, and the pitching has been great. The last week has been a lot of fun."

    Sustaining the confidence will be a season long goal for many – and often separates a minor leaguer from one that can handle the majors. To see the team coming together – and acknowledging it – is a good sign.

  • Chris Fetter and Matt Lollis were among those that through bullpen sessions on Saturday.

    Fetter tossed just fastballs and sliders during his session and looked good. He had command of his pitches to both sides. The slider has been the last thing to return since having ulnar transposition surgery last year. It appears that Fetter has a more over-the-top delivery today than in the past.

    "It could be post-surgery thing but not something that I have been working on," Fetter said.

    One other note has been Fetter's attempt to relearn pitch sequencing. He feels like he has been working down in the zone but has gotten away from elevating the ball at times to change a hitter's eye level. The curse of throwing too many strikes.

    Lollis has been working on his mechanics and keeping calm while on the mound. There are times when he has not stayed on top of his pitches. The other noticeable thing was Lollis attempting to place his foot on a consistent line.

    "I have been having a bad line to the plate," Lollis said. "My body has been closed off and it has caused my pitches to elevate."

    And Lollis has found out when the pitches are lifted in the California League, hitters don't miss and can pound the rock a long way.

  • Catcher Rocky Gale placed a thin metal donut on his bat during batting practice – located closer to the hands than the barrel. It was a strange thing to witness – and a first for many.

    One of the coaches asked, "How does it feel?" to which Gale responded, "Like there is a weight on my bat."

    The purpose of the donut contraption was to tell Gale when he squared up a ball. If it hit the metal, it rang and likely told him that he had not put the meat of the bat to the ball.

  • Second baseman Jonathan Galvez has been working to get the uppercut out of his swing over the last year. The intent is to keep the bat head in the hitting zone for a longer period of time, giving him more opportunity to put the barrel of the bat on the ball with a line drive stroke.

    This should be a motto for Jeudy Valdez who had more of an uppercut in his swing that previously recalled. He was golfing pitches low in the zone and could use some leveling in his bat plane.

    Freiman continues to hit rockets through batting practice and the ball sounds different coming off his bat compared to others.

    Jedd Gyorko's favorite position is hitting. Ben Davey asked where he would prefer to play and the answer came back as anything that gets him to the plate.

    Gyorko, incidentally, did more with bad pitches than any other hitter in batting practice. In hitting situations that they practice – where taking a pitch is not an option, Gyorko went the other way and generally hit the ball where it was pitched – a strong sign for future success.

  • Jose DePaula expects to be off the disabled list in a week to 10 days. He says his arm is more sore than injured.
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