Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A-Rod, A-Brack, A-RunOutOfNames

Alex Rodriguez is happy, his life is like a nice fresh bag of popcorn. Yeah, A-Rod even joked about the Super Bowl popcorn incident. (And I thank a handful of Twitter followers who told me the A-Rod popcorn tantrum turned out to be false.).

The Yankees 3rd baseman came to camp 10 pounds lighter for a little more flexibility and to try to improve on 2010. "All seven other guys in the lineup other than 'Swish' and Robbie (Cano) probably feel there's room for improvement. I know I have to play at an elite level for us to do well. We all have a very bad taste in our mouth after leaving Texas (defeated by the Rangers in the ALCS last year."

A-Brack is a made up name and hopefully he'll never be called that for real. But the Yankees staff has been impressed with Brackman's early work this spring. Brackman had this to say, “My first two camps, those B.P.’s would have been awful, nowhere near the plate or anything like that,” Brackman said. “I don’t know, the further away I get from surgery, the more comfortable I get on the hill.”

Joe Girardi took note as well. “He had a hard time consistently throwing strikes, where now it appears that that’s behind him,” Girardi said. “You look at what he did the second half of last year and what he’s done here in spring training – he’s throwing a lot of strikes. That’s a big part of the battle when you’re pitching.”

New pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been a positive influence on Brackman as well. “I think that’s what kind of hurt me my first year, second year, as a young guy coming up,” Brackman said before referring to the team’s new pitching coach, Larry Rothschild. “All the big guys are behind there watching you, and you want to say, ‘Oh, I can do more with this pitch, or I can make this breaking ball better.’ But, you know, Larry gave me some really good advice the other day: your stuff comes second. It’s all about repeating your mechanics. Just keep repeating, and your stuff will come. It’s been good advice so far.”

From the former files...thanks to @heelsonthefield for pointing out this article on former prospect George Kontos. I was sorry to see Kontos leave the organization via the Rule V draft. After having elbow reconstruction surgery in 2009 he was bouncing back nicely last season. I saw him pitch in one game for Trenton and his fastball looked good. Good luck to him in San Diego.

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