Pitchers and Catchers: Spring Training, Day One

David PhilpAnalyst IFebruary 15, 2008

I paid a visit to camp today for Day No. 1 of spring training. I'll admit that I was more than a little nervous.

The clubhouse was jammed with reporters all looking for comments from me about Alvin Kirby's arrest or my grievance with the team or the "feud" between Corey Belle and me that lasted about 24 hours. They know I'm no longer speaking with them. I shook their hands, said hello and cordially said some things off the record (How are your kids? You sound like you have a cold... stuff like that). They wanted more. I need to get some practice in not giving it.

They took lots of pictures of me shaking hands with other guys, me rummaging through my locker (I couldn't find a comb, not that I need one anymore), pictures of the scar on my elbow, of me doing push ups to prove to them I can do push ups... It was kind of fun but if I'm not going to speak to them, I should probably keep my distance.

It's hard to do because I've always been so open to the media. But I shut the door in the off season and I can't let them slip through.

It was great to see Kai Goto, the me of Japan. We'd met once in the off season after the press conference surrounding his $10 billion, 100-year deal. I repeated my joke that when I go play in Japan next year after they run me out of town here, they'll call me the "Kai Goto of America." He repeated his fake laughter (he laughs with a Japanese accent). We'll get along fine.

I didn't do much more than suit up, have another physical and tour the facility, saying hello to people I hadn't seen in a long time. Keep in mind I didn't play from April 1st until the end of the season. My time with the team after the injury was limited to a few appearances. In a way, I felt like a rookie walking in and seeing a whole new team.

Here are things/people I did not see:

  • I did not see my manager Rick Churches. He was around. I heard his voice cackle away. But he and I did not make eye contact.
  • I did not see Alvin Kirby, our beleaguered GM. From what I understand, he's sequestered in his home in Westchester trying to save his marriage, his job and his freedom.
  • I did not see Corey Belle. Position players don't need to show up until next week. I'm sure he'll show up at the very last possible moment.
  • I did not see anybody shooting anybody else up with HgH, heroin, chocolate milk, or anything else. I never have before either, in case you're asking.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I start some more workouts with the team. Mostly light throwing for me since I'm way behind lots of these guys. My rehab started late but I feel good. I'm going to take it slowly so I don't have any setbacks like the scar tissue problem I had a few weeks ago. I realize I most likely won't be with the team when they head north at the end of March. Maybe I'll just play in April for AAA Nashville. It's warmer there than New York at that time of year. Probably better for my elbow than 40 degrees and rain.

My off season personal trainer, Andy, is down here. My plan is to spend mornings with the team doing drills and light workouts. In the afternoons I'll meet up with Andy at a local Fort Pierce gymnasium and go through a heavy 2-hour core and lower body workout. The goal is to be done each day by 3:00 so I can get home and be there before Alyssa and Grace return from their temporary high school, just so I can say, "I told you so." They think I'm going to blow them off for the next six weeks. I won't. Burn on them.

I'll post again over the weekend if I get the chance. Otherwise, this is the Jimmy Scott of Fort Pierce Florida signing off.