Some positive news came out of Spring Training this morning, as Chris Branch reported the following:
Also: Cole’s arm was looking quite functional this morning, for those of you worried.
— Chris Branch (@ChrisBranchTNJ) February 22, 2014
Obviously, this doesn’t say a whole lot but it is much better than “Hamels sat out with discomfort” or “Hamels’ throwing timeline is unknown.”
A pitcher that hasn’t looked so hot, on the other hand, is Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. According to Branch, “on almost every pitch, hitters were ahead of Gonzalez’s throws”, while according to Jim Salisbury “Clearly, (manager Ryne) Sandberg has not been blown away by Gonzalez. No one in camp has. Gonzalez’s stuff doesn’t jump out at you. His control has been spotty.”
Both Branch and Salisbury quoted Sandberg as stating “Um, well, (Gonzalez’s) a guy that’s coming back from injury and hasn’t pitched competitively really for a couple of years. I know that we’re using a lot of patience with him.” In case you were wondering, the hitters Gonzalez faced were Domonic Brown, Marlon Byrd, and Tony Gwynn Jr. and for a video of Gonzalez throwing to, what looks like, Gwynn, click here.
Third baseman Maikel Franco has drawn extremely positive reviews. Branch says Sandberg has been playing Franco at both first and third and wants to get an extended look at Franco in the Spring. “I want to get a good look at him. Some of it’s organizational – what’s best for him, what’s best for the player. [In] a lot of ways it’s a bit of a unique situation with the type of year he had. We just want to see him in game situations,” quotes Branch while Salisbury reported the following from Sandberg “He’s getting some good rips at live pitching. I just like the way he uses the whole field. He’s not a one-way type of a hitter. He does the situational things very well. He has good basic mechanics and fundamentals that allow him to cover the whole plate and use the whole field.”
Finally, there are three names that have continued to pop up in Branch, Salisbury, and others columns as folks that are having impressive bullpen sessions. Those guys are RHP B.J. Rosenberg and Justin De Fratus and LHP Jake Diekman. Branch described the pop from the glove De Fratus and Diekman were getting as “(ringing) out” while Salisbury listed all three as having “thrown the ball well in workouts.”