Pitchers and catchers officially reported to spring training this morning in Ft. Myers, however many players have been there all week (or even earlier in Jon Lester's case). Here are some of the biggest takeaways thus far....
-We'll lead off with a video of Tito commenting on the health of Ortiz/Lowell....
- Brad Penny threw a successful bullpen session yesterday and did not show any evidence of the injuries problems that plagued him last year. In addition, pitching coach John Farrell said both Brad Penny and Takashi Saito would follow the same pitching schedule as the rest of the hurlers in camp. Don't be surprised however to see Penny receive a few extra days of rest during the season in an attempt to keep him healthy for the long haul. Personally, I'm trying to keep my optimism surrounding Brad Penny in 2009 in check, but the aforementioned update is reason to be a little excited.
- Josh Beckett appears to look more like the JB of 07' and not 08' . His shoulder strength tests registered higher than 07' and he came into camp at 228 pounds....in much better shape than the "fat JB" from early 08'.
- I'm sorry, but the 41 year old John Smoltz looks like he could pitch on April 6th. Saw a video of him throwing a football and going through long toss drills and he showed no signs of injury. Granted it was not throwing off a mound or trying any of his breaking stuff, but he looked to be in good shape and throwing easily and with good velocity.
- Lastly, "Old Reliable", Tim Wakefield stated he is 100 percent healthy and "feels great". He also had a very interesting quote in regards to Josh Bard.... “Three years ago I never had somebody work as hard as he did to try and catch me and do the right things. He was truly a professional in his attitude and the way he went about his work … My comfort level with him never changed from spring training into the season … He’ll admit this as well, I think his biggest mistake was trying to catch like Dougie caught.”
All of this gets me pumped for ITM's trip down to Ft. Myers in early March. The trip will include lots of baseball, sun, chain restaurants, beer, and Heidi Watney updates.