Back to the Basics

Hello again fans! Spring Training started on Monday and with that comes longer days and shorter nights.  This was a really busy week for me for a couple of reasons.  Most of the guys show up before 8 am and don’t leave till after 3pm.  Which may not sound too bad, but when you are in uniform out in the Florida sun most of the day, it wears you out.  We also had a lot of boring mandatory meetings that make the days a little longer, and on top of that I had a couple of doctor appointments.  Lastly, my girlfriend came to visit me, which I really enjoyed but that kept me busy as well.  We went out on a couple of dates to catch up and watch some movies.  Many of the minor league players have girlfriends, and it is tough because we move around so often, therefore we are forced to have long distance relationships.  We have Spring Training in Tampa, Florida, we play our regular season somewhere else, and then most of us move home in the off season which is in another place still.  So it makes relationships harder. 

Spring Training started well for me, but then took a turn for the worse.  I started taking batting practice and continued my throwing program, but later in the week my arm started getting sore.  Since then I have taken a step back to let my arm calm down and recover.  This was disappointing, but at the same time I was thankful that nothing was seriously wrong and my arm was just overloaded with all the new activity.  Mom, Dad, Johanna: thank you for all your prayers.    

During the first week of Spring Training we start with the basics.  Infielders went over things from how to field a ground ball to how to take leads off the bases.  Pitchers moved quickly from throwing bullpens to live batting practice.  They have also spent numerous hours taking PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice) and conditioning.  The last few days we have started doing more team work, such as bunt defenses, cuts, relays, and pick-off plays. Spring Training goes by quick, we have already started facing live pitching and this next week we will start playing games.   

God Bless, Have a great week!

Back in the Books

Hello Fans, this week I continued my throwing program and completed another phase in my throwing program that consisted of 50 throws at 60 feet.  My arm continued to feel a little bit better so this upcoming week I will be moving back to 90 feet.  I have increased my swings and I am hoping that I will be able to take batting practice this week as well.  It is amazing how far I have come over the past 5 months when I look back at where I have come.  The progress has been so slow that sometimes I forget that I am making progress.  I remember after coming out of my sling 4 weeks after surgery I could barely move my arm.    I distinctly remember saying to myself and to others that it will be a miracle if I can ever lift my arm above my head or throw normally again.  When I evaluated myself day to day, the progress was too small to notice, but when I looked at the progress I made week to week or even every two weeks that is when I see the improvement.   

This week I spent a lot of time reading and working on school work.  School work?  That’s right; I am taking a couple of classes online right now because I want to continue my education and eventually graduate.  I am actually taking a study break as we speak to write this blog.  I have wanted to finish the Government course before Spring Training, but I didn’t quite make it.  O well.  I also, finally, picked up a book that many people had been insisting I read, “Beyond Belief” by Josh Hamilton.  The book is about Josh’s childhood, his fall into drug abuse, and eventually his incredible comeback and where he found “The Strength to Come Back”.  The book lived up to the hype that so many people had built. I finished the book in a few days, most of that reading done in one afternoon.  If you are interested in a true story of baseball, heartbreak, overcoming amazing odds, inspiration, or encouragement I would strongly recommend it.   

Well, tomorrow is the first day of official Spring Training, which marks the beginning of another season.  Over the next month our performance will determine where we will start the beginning of the 2009 season.  So I can say with fairly good certainty that the guys are resting right now, getting ready for the upcoming week.  Everyone has arrived now and completed their physicals, which were finished this morning. 

Next week I will give you a report on what Spring Training is really like.  Have a blessed week and thanks again for reading!

Reunited in Sunny Florida

Hello again fans.  Another week has already come to a close.  It seems like yesterday I was driving into Tampa but I have already been here over a month and there is only one more week before Spring Training officially starts.  This week another group of guys arrived early to get ready for the season.  Many of my teammates from last year showed up and it was great to see them again.   It is an interesting situation because you build some good, close relationships with your teammates over the course of the season, due to the fact that you see them every day for at least 5 hours, you ride on long bus trips together, spend the night together, eat together, you do just about everything together.  Then at the end of the season you just leave and typically don’t see each other for another 5 month.  So I spent a lot of time catching up with friends this week. 

Practices are gradually getting longer to get us ready for Spring Training, where we will be on the field from 9am till 4pm.  My shoulder is continuing to get better.  I am throwing and hitting off a tee now, and each day my shoulder feels a little better than it did the day before.  I am anxiously waiting for the day that I get to take batting practice.  It has been exactly five months since I have taken batting practice and that is one of the things I miss the most.

This weekend was another eventful weekend for me; I am trying to do as much as I can right now because soon it will be all baseball.  On Saturday one of my friends invited me to go to the Yankees game against the Twins.  I had actually really wanted to go to a Spring Training game because I had never been before.  It was really exciting because as a Minor League player you don’t get a chance to see many Major League games because you are always playing.  After that, I went out to the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, about 30 minutes outside of Tampa.  The Strawberry Festival is an annual event that started as a celebration of the new harvest and is now ranked as one of the top festivals in North America.  It is a fun event with carnival rides, exhibits of agricultural, fine arts, and history, as well as concerts at night.  I splurged and had some of their famous strawberry shortcake, which I have to say is the best I have ever had.  Finally, I went to the Third Day concert that night which was really fun.

Thanks for all of the comments and God Bless!

Kicking things off

Hello fans, my name is Bradley Suttle, I am starting a blog this
year to keep you updated on our team and give you an inside look into a
Minor League Baseball player’s life.  Just to give you a little
background on me, I was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 4th
round of the 2007 MLB draft after spending two years at the University
of Texas in Austin.  Last year I had a great time playing 3rd base for
the Charleston Riverdogs in South Carolina.   

Right now players are starting to arrive to get ready for the
upcoming year.   I have already been in Tampa a month rehabbing my
shoulder that I had surgery on at the end of the 2008 season.  Our
practice time right now is a little less strenuous than spring training
will be.  We get to the field around 8:30 in the morning to get ready
for practice which starts at 10.  Right now we have individual
objectives to work on to improve our game.  During a practice, we
rotate through about 5 twenty minute stations and then we lift
weights.  Most of us finish our day between one and two o’clock in the
afternoon. 

Everyone is enjoying their last few weekends off before we start
“the grind,” where as you know we will be playing baseball 7 days a
week for the next 7 months.  Some of the guys went to the Monster Truck
Jam at Raymond James Stadium this weekend.  I had a blast!  It is
pretty cool to see a 15 foot tall truck fly 30+ feet in the air and run
over RVs!

Until next time…