Tag Archives: Sandberg

Mike Schmidt Takes on New Role in Phillies Camp

27 Feb

Photo: Miles Kennedy/Phillies

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is a regular every season at the Phillies Spring Training camp in Clearwater Florida, but usually spends just a week or two with the club.  This season Schmidt has agreed to stay and spend more time with the club at the request of Charlie Manuel and the Phillies, saying that he may hang around until about the middle of March.  I can’t think of anyone better then the best position player ever to come out of the Phillies organization.

In the past Schmidt has spent his time floating around and working with hitters in a minimal role, but this season plans to get involved in a more one-on-one basis with the players, and talk more about hitting, and what goes along with that.

“There will be times when I chat with guys about mechanics, but for the most part, the additions I’m going to offer this year are in-game strategies like, ‘Let’s be more aggressive in fastball counts, let’s be tougher to strike out, let’s figure out a way to give up fewer at-bats,'” Schmidt said. “A guy like me is only good if there are ears that want to listen. I never said I’m the end-all when it comes to that, but I’m a sounding board for guys, and I enjoy it.”

There were plenty of outcries this offseason for the Phillies to add to their offense, and they did that in a way.  They added some better bats to their bench in Jim Thome, Laynce Nix, and Ty Wigginton, but other then that the names are pretty familiar.  What Schmidt wants to do, with reinforcment from Thome, is get the hitters to reconsider their approach to everything.

“Can you change a guy’s approach? Yeah, you can get a guy to think about his role and profession. You can get him to think about being great at it and get him to understand it takes applying your mind more to your craft. You can get a guy to change the way he goes about his pre-game work.”

“You can get a guy to think more about his craft,” Schmidt said. “You need to come to the park and be darn sure you know who’s pitching tonight for starters, and I’ve heard stories that there have been occasions where guys might come and ask the hitting coach who’s pitching tonight.  I can’t even fathom that… It takes applying your mind more to your craft.”

Schmidt also said that he thinks he knows how Ryan Howard feels about being “That guy.”

“I’ve been in his shoes,” Schmidt said.  “He and I were the clean-up hitters, and the guy expected to come through, and the guy making the most money.  We probably get the most opportunities to make things happen, so we probably fail more then anybody, so the focus is probably on us.”

Schmidt isn’t trying to call anyone out, but he feels that this collection of guys has more then enough pop to get into the Postseason, and go all the way.  It’s just a matter of having the right mental approach, physical ability, and a little bit of luck.

It’ll be nice having two Hall of Famers in Schmidt, and Ryne Sandberg in camp for an extended period of time.

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Sandberg and Utley Talk Shop

15 Feb

utley.jpgEach year when Chase Utley reports to camp in Clearwater Florida team members and reporters always note that Chase appears to have bulked up.  Utley usually manages to add about ten pounds of muscle to his body each Winter, but as the season takes it’s toll, it tends to fall off.  10-time All-Star and new Lehigh Valley Ironpigs skipper Ryne Sandberg has some thoughts on what might help Utley stay strong all the way through to October.

Chase is excited to “Pick his brain”  and admitted that he’d “Be dumb not to.”  Utley starts every season strong across the board, but as the season progresses, Utley regresses.  Utley is truly the best second baseman in the game, but he hasn’t proven to be so durable the last few seasons. So who better to work with then a former MVP and a Hall of Famer like Sandberg? 

What was Ryno’s secret?  Apparently it was him cutting his training regimine back that he thinks helped him the most.  Sandberg said that for him “Just finding days to cut things down just a hair. Not doing quite so
much, but getting the work in. Just tweaking the routine a little bit.
He seems to have a real steady routine that he does, but if you can cut
that down, do two-thirds of it, do a third of it, but doing the same
things and still being productive and keeping your energy to make it
through a full year.”

This might be just the mentality that Utley needs to adapt.  We talk all the time about how this game is a grind, and Chase is a great example.  He is known for his excessive training, consistently being the first player to the park (With exception of Roy Halladay).  With a few seasons in the past that ended with disappointment, Utley is ready and willing to try something else. 

I hope he does, because  this season the offense is really going to need to bounce back. 

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