Since I wasn't here before, I can't personally compare, but the veterans all talk about how different this camp is compared to the past few years. I can say that Dubee and Charlie Manuel are great. They have been super with me. Of course, they're all aware that I'm coming off the surgery and where I'm at in my rehab and they're consicious of that, but they're also very reassuring that it's all going to work out. They keep stressing that they want me throwing straight through September, which is fine with me.
I'll likely start the year in Clearwater and probably spend maybe half of the season there. Then, if things are going well, I'll move up to Reading for the rest of the year. Dubee has told me that they want me to come out on opening day and be able to throw 75 or 80 pitches and pitch as deep into games as I can. That's all right with me, because after not being on the mound all of last season, I'm ready to spend as much time out there as I can.
As for my arm, it feels great. There are no problems, no pain and I feel as loose as ever. I'm throwing bullpen sessions every four days and I'll likely stay in camp until mid-March when the minor league games start. Then, I'll head over there and get into a normal routine. It would be great if I got to pitch in a game with the big league club, but nobody has told me whether or not that's going to happen. I'll just wait and see and be ready if they give me the chance.
We work a lot on fielding bunts and holding runners. There's a lot of stretching and running and I usually do more running on my own after practice is over. I love running and it's obviously an important part of staying in shape and building stamina, so I make sure I get my running work in.
When all of my work is in, a lot of times I head out to the bowling alley to work on my other new love. Actually, I'm heading there again today and I'm looking forward to it. My ball hasn't been hooking quite the way it should and my Grandfather told me to put my ball in the oven to get all the excess oil off of it. I tried that and there was a lot of oil, so maybe that was the problem. It sounds like a weird idea, but I'll let you know if it works.
The other night I went to a charity function for the Children's Dream Fund. Scott Mitchinson and I went and had a great time. I won the auction for a tie and a gift certificate. I got a good deal on them and it's for a great cause. Mitchinson is a good guy and we had a lot of fun and helped to raise some money for a great cause.
That's all that's happening here in Clearwater. Just a lot of good work and enough fun to go with it. If you have any questions or comments for me, pass them along to Phillies1964@att.net and I'll try to address them in a future article.