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Back Fields in Motion - March 23, 2017


ashbury

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Twins Video

blog-0985004001490305450.jpgThursday morning in Fort Myers, I resolved to take some pictures for once. Arrival was a little after 9, in time again for calisthenics (shown, left). Either that, or the prospects were being put to work erecting a new fence.

 

Fellow TD moderator USAFChief arrived shortly after this, and we shared a great day soaking up all that Twins spring training offers at the back fields.

 

After the players were warmed up, instruction began. Sometimes they do a lot of standing and listening at spring training, in this case to coach Ivan Arteaga (only his white-clad shoulder is visible in this shot):

 

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We moved to the fields in the far back. Fielding practice ...

 

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... was followed by every position player's favorite activity, batting practice. This day, it was decided to divide the hitters into two teams for a bit of artificial competition. The players opted for Americanos ...

 

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versus Latinos:

 

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The hitters judged for each other, regarding "outs" and "hits", and there was more good-natured joshing than I recall at most Twins on-field activities. Good idea, it turns out. (I failed to notice which team won, sorry.)

 

Drills ended early because the two minor league games were scheduled for 11:00. Chief and I visited the team shop, both downstairs and up, and while inside Hammond we took a look at the upstairs environment. An interestingly different view of activities on the major league batting practice field was available from this vantage point:

 

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We noticed that the minor league games had started, so we sauntered hustled over to the back fields again. When we got to the AA game, guess Hu had dropped in to pay a visit?

 

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Yep, Chih-Wei Hu, traded in 2015 for ..., well, it will be less contentious and painful if I don't go into that again, here. Hu turned out not to get a very friendly welcome from Twins bats, as you will infer from how he is backing up home in the above photo. However, later in the game he did saw off the bat of Twins prospect Cristian Castro (who reached base anyway on the play):

 

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I like this shot of Tom Belza taking a swing. Sometimes it must seem to the prospects that the major league field is only one long home run away.

 

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Over on the AAA field, you Gotta love this Rays prospect, whose first name is Cade by the way:

 

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And here, Daniel Palka demonstrates that he's not some punch-and-judy hitter, with that high kick. Reminds me of the old saying: "When you're going well, it's a timing mechanism. When you're in a slump, it's a hitch in your swing."

 

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Here, Karim Kevin Garcia [thank you Seth] goes out to talk with Mason Melotakis, and Melo apparently gives HIM the encouragement.

 

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And here, Reynaldo Rodriguez is checked at home plate by a trainer after taking a very painful shot to the lower leg on a foul ball. He did not look very steady as he was helped off the field, either. Owie.

 

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I didn't get a photo of the radar gun to confirm this, but Aaron Slegers hit 94 at one time, in the AAA game which he was the starter for. Mostly 86-91, in my brief viewing over someone's shoulder. Twice, he ended innings on checked swings called for strikes - nice!

 

Oh, one other tidbit: I heard Torii may be at the minor league fields on Saturday!

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And before someone asks who won the games: I don't know. I don't think the Twins did well at bat in the AAA game, and they played the bottom of the ninth so apparently they needed some runs. I have even less of a guess for the AA game. Nothing in my notes has much to do with actual success on the field, except the above radar gun item. Too busy snapping pictures. :)

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It's a Canon SX600HS, from a few years ago. Very far from high end - pocket-sized with all the engineering limitations that that implies - but I am totally happy with it, even though I don't use even a fraction of what it's probably capable of. Technology has come so very far since the SLR I got as a wedding present back in the 80s.

 

Oh, and maybe the nearness of the subject, at Spring Training, fools you into thinking these are all extreme telephoto shots. :)

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Thanks again for sharing.  Who is that big dude "Aluko?"  Is the the one that came via Alaska?

 

Kind of... he was signed last summer after the draft. He had played at Valdosta State, but I think he was playing summer ball in Alaska when he signed. 

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