Dusty Wathan and Tim Gradoville working with the infielders
PhoulBallz.com checked out the BlueClaws' open practice today and got some face time with new Lakewood manager and former Phillies minor leaguer Dusty Wathan.
-Dusty, do you have any things that stick in your mind from your two seasons as a player in spring training with the Phillies?
Just being able to be around guys and develop friendships with guys that were able to win the World Series last year. It's pretty special to be able to watch that World Series and know that you've been in the club house with those guys, and hung out with them and become friends with them. I think that's the biggest moment I had was getting to see those guys win the World Series and how much joy I had for them.
-What's the coaching staff like with Lakewood and have you worked with the coaches before?
(Hitting coach) Greg Legg was in the system already when I was a player and we got to know each other a little bit. I never played for him or anything like that, but I knew him as an instructor. Ya' know, he's just a tremendous baseball guy and he's been with the Phillies since 1984, as a player or coach and it's just great to have him to bounce some stuff off of since he's been around and been through everything. (Pitching coach) Bob Milacki is new to the Phillies this year, he's been with the Pirates for years. He's a tremendous guy to be around. He really knows his pitching. He pitched in the big leagues for a number of years. I'm very fortunate to have some guys that have been around baseball, know what they're doing and I can really lean on. Also Tim Gradoville will be here for a while with us working with the young catchers. He actually played here. It's just nice to have some guys that you can trust and really lean on for advice.
-Were any of the players here with you last year when you managed short-season ball in Williamsport?
Yes, a couple of them. Troy Hanzawa, our shortstop is one. It'll be exciting...the guys who weren't there I know most of them from instructional league and through spring training this year, so yeah, I know most of the guys pretty well.
-Who's your suspect as the first guy Lakewood might lose to Clearwater, due to promotion?
I don't know. We have quite a few young guys here. Maybe (Travis) Mattair, he was here last year, so I mean he has an opportunity. Ya know, anybody depending on what the situation is- Why there's movement, whether it be somebody doing well, or an injury, ya know anybody could fit that mold.
The practice was crisp and cold. I heard some folks around the dugout claiming they heard of a 38 degree measurement. Catcher Sebastian Valle took a moment to teach first baseman Jeremy Hamilton a bit of Espanol..."Hace frio" means "it's cold".
Check out some more pictures of today's practice and stay tuned to PhoulBallz.com for more BlueClaws features in the coming weeks.
Catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud
Jason Knapp throwing his bullpen session as coach Bob Milacki watches on
Troy Hanzawa and Jesus Villegas taking turns turning plays in the middle