FORT MYERS, Fla. — They’ve been working together for a week, but formal introductions waited until Friday. One by one, each Twins pitcher shook hands with each Twins catcher in the Hammond Stadium bullpen, said hello, then talked pitching.
“It was like speed dating,” manager Paul Molitor said with a laugh.
But the goal was getting outs, not getting to second base. Each pitcher has his own habits and idiosyncrasies, and pitching coach Neil Allen figures it’s helpful to talk about them right at the start. Some pitchers might warn, “My fastball has some late sink.” Others say “I want the target down, even on high pitches.” Or perhaps, “I like to use my breaking ball to get strike one.”
The more you know, the more comfortable you will be, Allen explained in proposing the exercise to Molitor.
“It was just kind of an interchange between pitchers and catchers,” Molitor said. “I don’t even know if everybody had even met each other, to be honest. So it was a good deal. [Allen] wanted the pitchers to communicate with the catchers, what they’d like to do and how they do it.”
No bullpen sessions were scheduled Friday, so Molitor told Allen to go ahead with it. So about a half-hour of Friday’s workout consisted of the 29 pitchers and eight catchers trading ideas and discussing preferences.
“It seemed like it went pretty well,” Molitor said. “And the guys had fun doing it.”