News and notes from Mesa

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for ON LOCATION LOGO.jpgMESA, Ariz.–Just some observations from around Hohokam Park:

Manager Lou Piniella isn’t kidding when he keeps reiterating that “a couple of these young kids are going to win jobs.” With a camp filled with first-round draft picks, it’s easy to see why.

– Outfielder Tyler Colvin looks better than ever. I was remarking with a couple of other people during morning practice that Colvin looks like he’s put on 25 pounds. Sure enough, one baseball ops man verified that. This off-season was the first during which Colvin didn’t have an injury to rehab through. He made an impression on many last year with some great catches and timely hitting during a late-season cup of coffee. While he’s a longshot to make the team out of camp, because there’s simply no room for him, I don’t think it’ll be long before he’s back in Chicago. He’s still just 24–he was drafted out of Clemson at 20, not 21 like most juniors–and has three options left, so he’s a prime candidate to ride the shuttle back and forth from Iowa to Chicago in case something happens to an outfielder. It was pointed out to me that Colvin isn’t a guy who does well coming off the bench, so if he comes to Chicago, he will play. He hit a homer and a double in yesterday’s game.

– I am told that hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome have hit it off very well. While there was some reluctance at first, Jaramillo has helped Fukudome shorten his stride, like Soriano. This helped Fukudome stay balanced in the box, and prevents that “spinning” thing he does when things get out of whack. During BP before the game, Fukudome was solidly stinging line drives as well as hitting long home runs to rightfield. During the game, Fukudome had a solid double to centerfield.

– Rule 5 pitcher Mike Parisi gave up a homer to Chicago-native Adam Rosales.

Starlin Castro might be fast, but watching the position players work on baserunning, it’s easy to see just how fast is Brett Jackson. The two have different gaits–Castro has long strides and covers ground in a loping sort of way, while Jackson’s shorter stride is quickened by legs like a halfback.

– Got a real good taste of High Plains Bison meat. The company was giving away samples. It is owned by Ricketts family patriarch Joe Ricketts. I have to say, it’s pretty darn good. Had a sausage with mustard, and it’s better than any hot dog.

–Mike Huang

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