FORT MYERS, Fla. — The first day of full workouts for the Twins was a long one, about twice as long as the sessions the pitchers have been putting in all week. And it was made even longer by a 90-minute meeting with some experts hired by Major League Baseball to discuss domestic abuse and how to avoid it.
“That was good. It was good for us to hear that,” pitcher Trevor May said of the session. “We’re athletes, we’re trained to be the man on the field, and sometimes it’s hard for guys to turn that off. That’s something they want to help with, help us understand. It was a really good thing.”
May’s day also involved a little extra work, under Paul Molitor’s new plan to reduce the amount of time pitchers spend standing around in the outfield, watching batting practice and occasionally chasing a baseball. Pitching coach Neil Allen designates two pitchers each day, two that aren’t scheduled to throw in the bullpen, and that pair is assigned to help shag batting-practice baseballs.
“I was on the list for the first tay, me and J.R. Graham, and it was loooong,” he said. “But hopefully, you only have to do it once. It used to be every day, so I’ll take this over those days. I’ll wear it for the guys for one day.”
The Twins have another morning meeting before Sunday’s workout, when representatives of the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) arrive to describe the program, which helps former players deal with difficult circumstances.
Speaking of meetings, manager Paul Molitor, bench coach Joe Vavra, general manager Terry Ryan and assistant GM Rob Antony met on Friday with Peter Woodfork, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, and umpire supervisor Charlie Reliford to go over the rules on pace of play, catcher collisions and instant replay. (Joe Torre was supposed to conduct the meeting, but had a family matter to attend to.)
“They wanted to hear our questions. There were a few issues regarding the collision rule that I had specific questions to ask,” Molitor said. “There’s not too much left in doubt about what their desires are with the pace of the game. They have information and statistics on all our pitchers — whether it’s coming in from the bullpen, or in an inning, after an inning, how many violations they have and how much time the average violation takes.”
The Twins, for the most part, are not dawdlers, Molitor was happy to hear.
“Overall, we finished at the top, or near the top, as far as the least amount of issues last year. That’s a good thing,” Molitor said. “We have [fewer] guys to try to address.”