Day #1 of position players with a full squad Circle of Trust

Feb. 19, 2018

If you stay after everyone else leaves, you might be surprised with what you see on the back fields in the Palm Beach complex. We were hanging out catching up on the news of the day that general manager Mike Rizzo in fact was not satisfied with the team he had as he signed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a one-year deal taking the last spot on the 40-man roster.

The morning started as usual with the players headed to the Circle of Trust. This was the expanded Circle of Trust with all the players and coaches numbering near 70.

No, Madson isn’t picking his nose, just adjusting his cap. I told Koda to get well soon, and he thanked me.

Then it’s on to stretching and long toss to the strains of “The Boys are Back in Town.”  Yes, that’s Gio Gonzalez facing the opposite direction from the rest of the pitchers.  Not going to say “wrong direction,” because you never know.  Maybe he’s the one facing the right direction and everyone else is backwards. Today all the players were back to wearing regular caps.  The guy in the team store said that everyone wanted those bucket hats the players had yesterday, but he only has baby and toddler sizes. (Speaking of toddlers, no Eaton or family today).

Since the position players reported today, there was batting and fielding practice for them. Joe Ross came by with a trainer or coach: since Joe was dressed, I assume he was working one-on-one.  Here’s some players headed for the fields:  that’s Andrew Stevenson with the high socks, Howie Kendrick carrying his shoes, and Michael Taylor behind some guy most of you probably recognize as Bryce Harper.

The position players did the same stretching exercises the pitchers did (maybe fewer arm exercises). They seem to follow their trainer more closely than the pitchers. This is what I call player pretzels (when they do stuff I have no chance of doing).

Coaches working with Daniel Murphy to test his knee: Murph is catching a ball tossed to him with one knee on the ground.

Batting practice.  Yes, I do believe that’s Rizzo . . . actually wearing a cap! (Earlier, he was carrying it around in his hand).  Stevenson hitting, Harper and Howie waiting.

Fielding practice for the same group, while the groundskeeper comes to pull up the base. Harper did miss one of the grounders.

Chatted with one of Trea Turner’s uncles who lives nearby.  Says he hopes Trea takes lots of walks, “which means he’s on second” and then someone else can knock him home.  Showed him a photo of the sculpture we bought in Sedona and named Trea.  He was amused.

Harper and MAT post fielding drills.  Note Harper’s white glove that was featured in a TalkNats piece.

We ended up standing around chatting with Susan-at-the-gate rather than leaving after the position players went in.  Some players were working out outside the clubhouse, bouncing medicine balls or doing agility work.  That included Sean Doolittle, and a handful of other players not distinctive enough to recognize at a distance.

Then, much to my surprise, here comes Aaron Barrett!  Yes, he’s pitching!  Someone who knows about such stuff told me that this phase of his rehab will be over by May, and he hopes to be back with the Nats by summer. That explains why he’s not an NRI:  he’s not quite finished rehab. Also, he must have been working out at another field, as he forgot his regular shoes there, so someone brought them back for him.

Then another surprise:  here comes Ryan Zimmerman, who heads over to Field ½ to practice fielding grounders at first with the new first base coach.  Candide posted video, but here’s one photo:

We hit the team store on the way out for a couple of lightweight Columbia Sportswear shirts.  Store is closer to 85% stocked by now.  The lesson of today is always stay for the encore.


This entry was posted in SpringTraining. Bookmark the permalink.