Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It’s weird to say it, but I’ve sort of forgotten about Johan Santana this Spring. Today, we had front row seats to his bullpen on the main field, and I’m beyond thankful for having been able to watch it. I mean, there’s a really good chance he’s either traded this summer or let go at the end of this season. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the wins and losses and the contracts and injuries, but I try to stop on occasion and just notice the talent and work ethic. Santana enters with a smile, hat crooked and joking. But, it’s all business the minute he turns his hat around and makes eye contact with Dan Warthen. He’s focused, serious, pushing himself, and working hard on the mound.
In the end, it’s moments like this where I am beyond thankful to you and the tens of thousands of fans who read this site, because it creates the opportunity for me to be present for such a simple, yet rare moment like this, which I’ll never forget…
It was eye-opening not just watching, but also listening to Santana work his way through his bullpen. From his interaction with Warthen and his catcher for the session Eric Langill, it seemed like the majority of it was focused on his change up’s release point, follow through, arm slot, and location.
As the session went on, the execution got better. However, for me, the highlight was seeing Terry Collins came over mid-session to rib on Langill for not framing the pitches to his liking. It makes sense: harnessing a touch pitch like that takes pinpoint concentration, and Collins may want Santana to get in the mind frame of game-time execution — even while only throwing with about 60-70% intensity. It also helps to remind Powell not to give up so easily on a pitch being a called strike. For a mundane occurrence at camp, it really was riveting stuff.
Today’s Video Diary, which will post later today, will focus on Santana’s bullpen, with highlights, close ups and Bobby Ojeda narrating…