October 2009

Playing Closer to Home

 Playing games in Arizona have been great so far.  The weather is perfect, it’s always sunny, plus it’s not too hot this time of year. Best of all, there’s NO HUMIDITY!  Being from Northern California, that was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make in playing in the Southeast.  It’s nice to go outside and not be dripping sweat after 10 minutes of shagging BP.  Another advantage of playing closer to home is that it makes it easier for family and friends to come visit and see us play.  My Dad was able to come out a couple weeks ago and my Mom is out here now.  Since we play mostly day games, it gives us the rest of the day to spend with family and we are able to go out to a good dinner and catch up.  

 We have most of the evenings and every Sunday off, so we have a lot more time to go see movies and play golf.  I played a round today and was brutal.  As I had mentioned before, Lee Hyde had been borrowing my clubs for the last few weeks and was blaming my clubs for his bad rounds.  I didnt believe him, but after the way I played today he may be right.  Last week I saw Law Abiding Citizen with Jamie Foxx and it was awesome.  One of the better movies I have seen in a while.  One of my favorite books growing up was Where the Wild Things Are, so of course we had to go see that one too.
   As for baseball, things are going much better for our team.  After a slow start, we have won a couple of games this week and are starting to come up with some big hits and more consistent pitching.  Some of the line drives that Freddie Freeman was hitting right at people are starting to fall for hits.  Brandon Hicks continues to swing the bat well and is really having success out here.  Mike Minor has been throwing the ball great and pitched 3 solid innings in his last start.  Lee Hyde continues to look awesome.  Our pitching coach Jim Czajkowski and I made a few mechanical adjustments this week and it has really helped with my command and I’m starting to feel more comfortable on the mound.  
 Feel free to keep sending me your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Greetings from AZ

Hi, my name is Jeff Lyman and I am a minor leaguer in the Atlanta Braves system.  I’m out here in Peoria Arizona playing for the Peoria Saguaros in the AZ fall league.  Games started this past week and we are currently 0-5, but we’ve played some good games and are starting to shake off some of the rust after taking a month off.
   All the players came into town about two weeks ago for a couple days of workouts to try and get prepared for the league and set up housing for the two months that we will be here.  I’m living in Phoenix with another player from the A’s, Sam Demel.   Since we play mostly day games, we have had a lot of opportunities to go out to dinner and there are plenty of cool places to eat.  Two of my teammates, Lee Hyde and Craig Kimbrel, went to In-N-Out Burger the other day for the first time and they both liked it, but all the CA guys (mostly me) may have hyped it up a bit too much.  I guess they are going to stick to Chick-fil-A.  
    We have a very talented team, but most of all it is a bunch of cool guys who get along really well.  That always makes going to the ball park more enjoyable. Jason Heyward is continuing to rake out here for the first week.  Brandon Hicks was really swinging the bat well at the end of the season in Mississippi and has carried it over to the AZFL.  Freddie Freeman has also swung the bat great, but has lined out hard several times.   This is definitely a hitter’s league and the pitchers are trying to make some adjustments early this fall season.  Mike Minor started the first game and looked good.  The starters are only going 2 or 3 innings at this point to build their arm strength back.  It’s tough to take a month off and then jump right back in.  We had thrown bullpens and live BP’s in Florida, but it’s difficult to simulate the adrenaline of a game.  I had to spot start our second game of the season last week because Zack Putnam had a stiff neck and couldn’t throw.  I threw fine and gave up one run in two innings.  I also threw last night and really struggled.  I just had no command of anything and was missing up in the zone, not a good combination.  But that’s why we are out here – to work on things and make adjustments.  Lee Hyde has looked lights out and is really gaining some confidence back in his arm after some setbacks from Tommy John surgery. Craig Kimbrel is still throwing a million miles per hour and is looking really good.
    For all the luck on the field that the Braves players have been having, it has been equally unlucky off the field.  Kimbrel, Minor and Hyde have had some minor housing issues and had to stay in a hotel for a couple extra nights.  Fortunately, they finally got it all figured out yesterday.  On top of that, Kimbrel got his car side swiped at an intersection while they were out looking for places to stay.  Everyone is fine, but now they are driving around in a rental.  If that’s not enough, Freddie was rear-ended yesterday at a stoplight (he is fine), but has to now go get his car fixed.  The drivers out here are crazy!
    All the guys have been playing a lot of golf and there are some awesome courses in the area.  Lee Hyde has been using my clubs and blames me for why he isn’t scoring like he usually does, but I don’t think the clubs are the problem.   
    Overall, things have been going great for everyone and we are all looking forward to the next month of baseball in Arizona.   I will try and do these about once a week so if anyone has any questions I will do my best to answer them