Wrapping up the Off Season

Hey everyone, It’s finally that time of year again, baseball is back! Well, sort of. Pitchers and catchers have begun to report for all of our MLB teams marks the beginning of a long standing tradition, Spring Training.  2013 will be my first Spring Training, so I am extremely excited to get down to Peoria and get this season underway!

Hopefully this post will sort of tie up all the loose ends that are the off season and get everybody as excited for Spring Training as I am.  I’ve spent the winter splitting time between my desk job at Splash (see previous post) and my off season baseball job of hitting, throwing and working out. Throughout the process my trainer “Boots” has done all sorts of testing so we are able to establish how I’m progressing toward my goals.  Today was the biggest day for me, as we finally re-tested my sprints, the area of my game that absolutely needed the most work.  We are only able to run 30 yards at the Baseball Zone where I’ve been working out, maxing out the space by pulling all the batting cages out of the way.  When I started to work with Boots in November I ran my 40 in 4.11 seconds.  Today, I ran the same sprint in 3.88! I may not be the fastest guy in camp, but I am incredibly proud of the hard work I’ve put in in the last few months to get my times down.  Like I said in my post about off season workouts, there is nothing better than competing with yourself and trying to better your scores and times.  I know now that all of the hours I put in not only at the Baseball Zone, but at home stretching, foam rolling etc have paid off in a tangible way.  It all adds up to 0.23 seconds!

I’ve been feeling great lately in the cage, my swing is starting to really feel like its ready to go.  In the last week I’ve been able to stand in against some pitchers throwing bullpens, something I find incredibly helpful in getting my timing and my eye back.  Last Thursday I stood in and saw 30 pitch bullpens from my college teammate turned Chicago Cub Jas Rakkar, and two guys who I’ve become friends with over the off season, Jamie Richmond (Royals) and John Marriotti (Team Italy, WBC).  Over the weekend I was back practicing with my former high school elite team and was able to stand in against a whole bunch of 18U pitchers, both left and right handed.  Tomorrow will be a big day for me as I’m going to actually take live batting practice swings off Jas, Jamie and John.

In wrapping up my off season I decided to FINALLY break out a new bat.  Since I received my order of Vipers last fall at Instructional League (September 12, 2012)

I have used 1 bat exclusively, every single day.  Exactly 5 months have passed, 153 days of which I probably hit on 140. I finally managed to chip the barrel, nothing serious enough that it won’t continue to be my BP bat, but enough to know it was time to break out a new one. So, here it is, my fresh out of the plastic wrap M-320 maple.

New BatThis will be the first time I’m using Viper’s Maple. If it’s anywhere close to as good as the Birch I know it will last a long time, have serious pop, and if you ask me, it will look pretty sharp too!

Now we can all go back to counting down the days until Opening Day.  Keep working hard, keep swinging and let’s play some ball!

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