My last day at spring training and the Braves send me home with a tie. They had a chance to score in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. Gregor Blanco actually came through and tied the game with a single that got through the drawn in infield. Mitch Jones and his spring of futility popped up on the first pitch he saw, still with the bases loaded, for the second out. That was the key at-bat of the game, as he could have ended it there with a deep fly ball. Brooks Conrad then came up and flew out to end the inning.
The Braves could have gone another inning or two as they had Jon Huber and Ryne Reynoso still in the bullpen, but the Tigers were out of pitchers after ten innings, so the game ends in a 4-4 tie.
Kenshin Kawakami had a good start. He said his 2-seam fast ball was a little up. On the two homeruns he gave up he said that one was cutter that got a little up, and the second one was a 2-seamer that he didn't locate properly, he also added that he didn't have good release point on those pitches, which led to the poor location.
A lot more after the jump...
Billy Wagner gave up a run on three his, but Bobby Cox said that "Wags likes to work on off-speed stuff, and got a couple up." That's a reminder that some of the lines these guys put up, especially veterans, are lines they would never put up in the regular season because here in spring training they're working on things.
The big story of the evening was the spring debut of reliever Scott Proctor. Bobby Cox said of Proctor, "you never expect good command right away, but he had it." When asked if this means Proctor is closer to an opening day bullpen spot, Cox emphasized that he's got experience and a new arm, but that "we'll see how he repeats," which basically means we'll have to look at his next outing and whether he can eventually go on back to back days.
Proctor's velocity was in the low-90's. When I asked him if that's where he's like to be he said, "The main thing is they're strikes." Adding, "I'm just trying to go out there and pound the zone and be able to walk off the mound and do it again next time." He admitted that he is curious about his velocities and that he's not quite where he want's to be with that yet.
I'm heading home tomorrow, but I'll get right on the transcribing of some more of the interviews on Sunday. I was able to grab Brandon Hicks and Craig Kimbrel today, so in total I have about 10 or so interviews to get to over the next couple of weeks.
So long from Orlando, as I head home to Atlanta and the Braves head on the road: