Hitters are now facing pitchers in live batting practice. The pitchers are throwing close to top speed and mixing in breaking pitches, so this is the first drill that simulates game conditions for the hitters. Early in camp the pitchers are well ahead of the hitters. I stood behind the batting cage as Albert Pujols faced Adam Wainwright and then Jason Motte. Albert faced Wainwright twice and Motte once. In all three times at the plate Albert swung at two pitches and looked at a third. He hit a few foul balls but didn't hit any balls out of the cage. Obviously you can't read anything into what happens in these drills, but it is an indication that even one of the best hitters in the game needs plenty of at bats against game speed pitching before he gets his timing down. It's hardly fair for any hitter to face Motte's 98 mile an hour fastball on his first day of live batting practice. You can see some of the video of live bp in the sports section of this website.
The players had their pictures taken today before practice. These are the shots that'll be used in the yearbook and for some baseball cards. Even the players with little chance of making the final roster have multiple pictures taken in case they surprise everybody and win a spot among the final 25. That's what happened with Albert Pujols in 2001 when he wasn't expected to make the team, but was added to the roster after an injury to Bobby Bonilla.
Fredbird was here today. As you might expect he had plenty of pictures taken too. He also filmed a tv commercial. Fredbird has a slightly different uniform this year. He was upset this morning on the radio show when he couldn't seem to get his point across that his uniform was different. That video is also available on the site.
I'm heading back home to St. Louis. Sure hope it's 75 degrees and sunny like it's been this week in Florida.