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Tuesday workout observations

Feb 22, 2011, 7:43 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Bernadina works on Bo Porter's unconventional drill.

VIERA, Fla. — No, your eyes aren't deceiving you: That's a photo of Roger Bernadina tracking down a fly ball with his right hand while holding a football in his left hand. That was one of the first things I saw during this morning's full-squad workout that let me know there are a few differences about this camp from previous ones.

The football drill is the brainchild of new third base coach Bo Porter, who also instructs the outfielders. Porter came up with the idea several years ago while coaching the Marlins. The idea behind it: Holding a football tucked into your side while taking off to catch a fly ball helps keep your running form tight and thus keeps your speed up all the way through the catch.

"After coaching for a year and watching different guys running at the balls, I realized the farther an outfielder runs for the ball, the form kind of got out from under them," said Porter, a former football player himself. "You see the glove start to waggle, the arm gets outside of their body. We all know if you start to lose your form, you're going to slow down. So the goal with the drill is to keep them running with their formRead more »

  1. Bowdenball - Feb 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    "Oh, I think it's wonderful," said Nyjer Morgan, who seemed comfortable with the drill from the get-go. "It's definitely going to benefit us outfielders."Nyjer just likes having something easy to spike for the next time he misplays a fly ball into an inside-the-park HR.

  2. joemktg - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Definitely using that drill for our youth players.

  3. Doc - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    It's all about focus and concentration, and good for Bo Porter to try it. He's got some good perceptions of what OFs need to do with their arms when they are tracking a ball.Nice to see some novel approaches to working with OFs. I always had the impression, the last few years of Dunn and Morgan, that there was very little OF coaching by the Nats. I'm thinking though, that when you get close to the fence/wall it's probably time to let go of the good ol' football!

  4. MGG - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    I think this is just what the team has needed: focus and attention to detail. In my opinion its so far so good, and I'm very glad to see harper not smashing HR's in live BP, maybe it'll make him think hes not the superstar he thinks he is…yet.

  5. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    I liked the photo of Jayson Werth keeping Nyjer on a short leash :-)

  6. souldrummer - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Your Nyjer Morgan photo is already getting some twitter ink, Mark. Guess we know who's the new head honcho in the outfield. ;-)

  7. gino - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    so what's new? lastings milledge ran pass patterns all the time

  8. Rabbit - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    An outfield drill catching a ball without a glove will last only until the first sprained or broken finger.

  9. Doc - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    I always thought that the sports reporters' short leash stuff on Nyj was just figurative, not literal!

  10. Wally - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    This is the second photo were Lannan looks noticeably heavier to me, so I am guessing it isn't an odd photo angle. Mark or NatsJack (or anyone else down there) – has he put on weight, and is it 'good' weight?

  11. SCNatsFan - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Great note on Frank Robby… so sad to see where he sits with the organization, would love it if both sides extended just a little olive branch and things got patched up. Good news on Lannan and Maya, new coach seems to at least be trying… like to hear it.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    No… You are correct. Lannan has bulked up and claims it's from a rigorous off season weight lifting campaign. Can't wait to see if it adds a couple of mph to his sinker.

  13. N. Cognito - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    This is good news. The last few years the Nats have fumbled the ball way too many times. Our turnover differential should improve, and with better field position, the Nats should be able to score more touchdowns.

  14. TimDz - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    At least they aren't putting a Hockey Stick in Nyjer's hands…

  15. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Hey everyone random question and maybe this is already covered: Is there a resource/info on the nats upcoming practice schedule somewhere? I can't seem to find it. I'm headed to Orlando this weekend for a trip and wanted to head over to Viera (most likely on Sunday) to check out ST. Thanks

  16. Anonymous - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Anonymous said… "Hey everyone random question and maybe this is already covered: Is there a resource/info on the nats upcoming practice schedule somewhere?"Random answer: The Boer Wars.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Anonymous…. Get to the practice site by 9:00 AM. They will be amassing around 9:15 and start at 9:30 sharp. They'll practice till around 12 noon. I'm going to the Mets/Braves games Saturday and Sunday or I'd be there with you.

  18. Section 222 - Feb 22, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    SBF posted a video of the outfield drill. The only guy not to catch the fly ball — Bryce Harper. But he looked pretty speedy running after it.http://nats320.blogspot.com/2011/02/tracking-baseballs-while-carrying.html

  19. N. Cognito - Feb 22, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    NatsJack:What about minor league camp when the Nats are on the road? Is there a schedule somewhere for that?Thanks.NC

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 22, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    I'll check with my contacts at Nats camp Friday and let you know. During the first week of ML games minor leaguers usually follow the same schedule that the ML players had. Muster around 9:00 AM then practice till noon. Once their practice games begins it's a little different.

  21. phil dunn - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    I wonder how many wall crashes there will be by the outfielders adopting Porter's methodology?

  22. Anonymous8 - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    SCNatsFan said… Great note on Frank Robby… so sad to see where he sits with the organization, would love it if both sides extended just a little olive branch and things got patched up. ________________Sounds like maybe the olive branch was extended. StanK was the issue there and I think the team should have a Frank Robinson Day to honor Frank. It would be a day that I think the team would capture many O's fans too.What a great opportunity for the team. It could be a game during a Cincy Reds series where Frank got his start.

  23. Carl in 309 - Feb 23, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    Rabbit said… An outfield drill catching a ball without a glove will last only until the first sprained or broken finger.—-I'm sure that will be an issue, but save one player per team, cricketers all play without gloves, and so make both line drive and fly ball catches of a cricket ball–comparable in size, weight, and speed (when hit) as a baseball–without the benefit of hand coverings. It's pretty remarkable to watch them do this when your frame of reference is baseball! And if you want to see cricket, this is the time to do so–the World Cup for Cricket is being played now through April 2nd in South Asia, with lots of games in the early rounds now.

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