Full squads have begun, and the controlled chaos called spring training has become even more hectic. At any given time, all four fields are now being used, forcing grassy areas outside of the fields to be used for some exercises and drills. The monotony and repetition of pitchers and catchers week has given way to team defense drills and live batting practice. We still go through the defensive drills we had been for the first week, but less time is spent on each activity.
Games begin on Wednesday, and along with that starts early work. As mentioned in a previous post, early work is drills that are done by as few as one or as many as several players, before practice that day. Early work occurs both in spring training and during the season, and normally lasts 15-30 minutes. For me, this involves hitting drills and catching drills. The catching drills are either extra work on things we put the most emphasis on (bunts, blocks, and transfers), or on things we do not have a chance to work on as much (such as pop ups). Some other early work examples that other players do are infielders working on their double play transfers, and outfielders working on throws to bases.
During the season, hitting early work is usually mandatory for all position players. Defensive early work is prevalent when the respective rover is in town, but is also done throughout the season on a semi-frequent basis. These sessions are generally initiated by players wanting to work on things, but can also be scheduled by a coach or manager.
With days generally starting around 9:00am, early work will begin sometime a little after 8:00am. While this may seem like overkill and that our days are long enough as is, these are just additional steps we take to pay attention to detail and perfect our craft.