More tidbits from today’s Minor League workouts and games:
* I found Pete LaForest’s biggest fan. She’s a Minor League baseball card photographer (actual job title). She works practically everyday, mainly shooting the players in the Appalachian League. During the spring, however, she comes to Florida to shoot. Today was one of three days off this month for her, so obviously, she watched a baseball game.
The photographer wouldn’t stop talking about LaForest, the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs backup catcher. She first met him when he was 16 as a Braves prospect. Back then, he knew “not a word of English.” She said LaForest was a kind man who loved children â€” one of the few men who are good “both on the field and outside the lines.” Once she yelled for LaForest’s attention, he responded with a smile and a “what are you doing here?”
* It’s amazing how up close you get to the players at Spring Training. At least during Minor League morning workouts, you’re walking past top prospects. Carlos Carrasco breezed by me, then embraced an older man with a bear hug. Adrian Cardenas chatted with some fans just feet from me. One of the big attractions was Joe Savery, and he stopped and signed for fans.Â I walked past JA Happ, who greeted a friend of his. Scott Palmer rushed by me to do some PR work.
* Of course, some fans like being very close. Some autograph seekers are incredibly dedicated, maybe to the point where it’s scary â€” grown men and women over 40 sneaking up to men at around 20 just for their signatures. I was a big autograph guy â€” but as a child.
* Dominic Brown is a towering, athletic man. He’s an outfielder ranked high in the Phillies prospect sheets, and he should make a huge impact once called to the show. He’ll likely start the year in A-ball, but his nice, fluid swing looks pretty enough to put him in AA right now.
* I was impressed with Jeremy Slayden, who rocked a couple balls deep into the outfield abyss. Jason Donald and Brad Harman hit with him and also impressed â€” their shots were either sliced up the gut or lined down the line.