Mark Feinsand has a great post today about a game that Yankees skipper Joe Girardi played with the pitching staff today. Check it out below:
Spring training gets rather monotonous for players, especially pitchers. There are only so many side bullpen sessions and pitchers fielding practices (PFPs) you can do before you get bored to tears. Today, Joe Girardi found a way to combat that boredom.
Instead of doing PFPs, the Yankees’ pitchers took part in PPP – pitchers putting practice. Girardi actually named it the “WBC Ryder Cup,” as the entire group of pitchers played “golf” on the basepaths with a bat and baseball.
The guys were split up into eight teams, each led by a player representing a different country. Well, sort of representing countries. There were only seven countries represented (Mariano Rivera could have given them an eighth with Panama, but he was throwing in the bullpen), so they made the eighth team “Native America” led by Joba Chamberlain. Creative stuff.
The countries were Chinese Taipei (Chien-Ming Wang), Cuba (Christian Garcia), Japan (Kei Igawa), Dominican Republic (Jose Veras), Puerto Rico (Jonathan Albaladejo), United States (A.J. Burnett), Mexico (Sergio Mitre) and “Native America” (Joba).
The “golf course” consisted of the basepaths, with pitchers putting baseballs with a bat. The winning team was rewarded by only having to run half as much as the rest of the pitchers. Burnett’s squad looked strong after he had a “hole-in-one” on his first shot, but things went south in a hurry. Girardi said the tournament was Burnett’s idea.
Wang’s team, which included Phil Hughes and Scott Aldred, the Triple-A pitching coach, emerged victorious, beating out Igawa, Dave Robertson and Steven Jackson. Robertson had an opportunity to make a big putt, but, in his words, “I choked big-time.” Still, Robertson said the event was much more fun than PFPs, “especially after we’ve been doing them for three or four weeks.”
Hughes was the only one on the winning team to benefit from the win, however. Wang is still not doing much running as he returns from his foot injury, and Aldred doesn’t have to run sprints since he’s a coach.
Good stuff from Girardi. I think its good to have some fun once an awhile and keep everyone in good spirits.