To set the stage, the Fall Instructional League is a much more laid back atmosphere than what you'd expect to see during the season, or in spring training. While those are guys getting ready for the season or fighting for a spot, Fall Ball is usually more about players getting some extra work in that may have been limited in the season, or a player working on a specific aspect of his game.
Day one of instructs was pretty laid back and uneventful. The majority of the morning was occupied by an orientation where players received instruction and outlines for camp. Following the briefing, players performed calisthenics, ran sprints and completed various conditioning drills.
Things remained pretty slow on Thursday too, but the focus did lean a tad more towards drills and instruction on the diamond.
Catchers had brief instruction on receiving and blocking pitches. They also spent an hour or so working on base running drills--which was about as much fun to watch as it sounds.
Thursday was a pretty light day for the pitchers as well. Following stretching, they played catch, worked on holding runners and received instruction on arm exercises before calling it a day. The majority of drills were hands off lessons. Really not much to evaluate at this point; their activity should pick up this weekend.
Infielders worked primarily in the batting cages and the weight room. Later in the afternoon they shifted to the backfields for their crack at bunting and base running drills.
Outfielders broke into groups and shagged fly balls and fielded grounders. Austin Schotts had a day to forget, taking a few questionable routes due to bad jumps. Schotts looked burnt out and noticeably frustrated.
On the flip side, Steven Moya looked improved and sharp defensively in almost every facet Thursday afternoon. I was also pressed with how well Ben Verlander navigated the outfield.
Peralta's Outfield Crash Course Underway
For the breakdown on Peralta's first couple days at Instructs, follow the link below:
The majority of BP on Thursday was in the indoor cages that are off limits to the media. However, after receiving instruction from the coaching staff on bunting drills, for their last couple turns, players were allowed to swing away on the back fields.
Dominic Ficociello and Ben Verlander put up impressive displays in BP. The ball jumped off their bats well and sounded great. Both youngsters went opposite field a couple times too. I walked away impressed and intrigued.
Switch-hitter Franklin Navarro was night and day depending on which side of the plate you saw him from. Navarro looked absolutely lost as a lefty. Mechanically his swing appeared smoother and the results were much better from the right side though.
Relievers on the Mend
Reliever Luis Marte spoke with me about the recovery from his season-ending surgery. Marte reaffirmed that his shoulder was cleaned and repaired and that he also dealt with forearm tightness prior to the work. Marte, who is currently rehabbing, just began throwing on flat ground. He seemed confident that he will be good to go next spring.
I also spoke with a noticeably larger Joe Rogers. Joe admitted that he'd been hitting the gym pretty hard during his rehab. Rogers logged just ten innings last season due to nagging injuries. He explained that he met with Dr. James Andrews recently and they ruled out surgery. Rogers hasn't thrown yet but he seemed very confident he will be 100 percent for Spring Training.
James Chipman is the Senior Lakeland Correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.