October 2008

Back to basics at the plate

Hello to all readers,
As you know the Peoria Saguaros haven’t been playing the best baseball right now. At the beginning, we had everything going for us. The pitching and the hitting was coming together very well. What happened, I’m not sure, but baseball is baseball. You can’t win them all, the worst team can beat the best team any giving day in baseball. It’s about how you’re going to come back from it. We have a great group of guys out here giving it their all and that’s all you can ask for.
As for me, well, it’s still early in the season. My goal is not to get too far behind because it’s a really short season and you don’t want to play catch up towards the end. I’m feeling really good at the plate right now. These last couple of days, I’ve been in the cage working with the hitting instructors about getting ready a little sooner
and widening my base out for better position and balance. Before, I had a more narrow base and my front side was quick to move. So I’m taking it back to the basics and I’m having very good at-bats.
If there are any questions or comments just go ahead, leave them, and I’ll try my best to answer them for you.
Thank you

Guest Blogger: Bill Rhinehart

Hagerstown swung.JPGHello, my name is Bill Rhinehart and I play in the Washington Nationals organization. A little background about me first is that I was selected in the 11th round of the 2007 draft by the Washington Nationals. I began my professional debut in the New York-Penn League playing for the Vermont Lake Monsters. Moving so far Northeast after playing four years at the Univeristy of Arizona was a big change for me because now I was playing every day as opposed to three to four days at Arizona. This  was a positive change because it allowed me to develop the skills I needed as a first baseman after playing mostly outfield at Arizona. Even though my season in Vermont was cut three weeks short because of a pulled hamstring, I thought it was a success because I had made the All-Star team and obtained the skills I needed to become a better first baseman.

After playing in the New York- Penn League, I was excited to go to my first spring training down in Florida. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I did know that I was ready to start playing baseball again after a long winter back home in California. During spring training I was able to get back into the swing of baseball and prepare myself for the upcoming season. I worked out mostly with the Low A team and I enjoyed playing with some of my old teammates and meeting other players, and as spring training came to a close I had made the Hagerstown roster.

When I got up to Hagerstown, the weather was so different from what I was used to, and I had to buy extra pairs of socks and hand warmers to stay warm. I spent the first half of the 2008 season in Hagerstown and made the All-Star team where I went 3 for 3 with a home run, and I was honored to be the MVP of the game. When I got back the next day my coach called me in the office and said that I was moving up to Potomac where our High A team is located. I was excited to get the call up, but at the same time I realized that I was going to have to keep playing my best so that I could do what I could to help the team win. Well, I didn’t spend much time there, and I only played seven games before moving up again to Double A in Harrisburg. I was surprised how fast I was able to move up, but at the same time I told myself this is still the game of baseball only now for a new team. I spent the second half of the 2008 season in Harrisburg and this is where I finished the year out. Playing in Harrisburg was a great opportunity for me, because I was able to see a different level of competition, so that I can be better prepared in the other levels of baseball I hope to play in.

When I found out I was going to Arizona for the fall league I was very excited, because I knew I would be facing some great competition, and I was up for the challenge. We are in our second week here and so far our team is off to a great start. We are 7-1 right now and hopefully we continue this type of success. The guys on the team are great, and I have enjoyed meeting the new players from different organizations, and listening to them talk about their journey on how they made it here also. As a team we all get along well with each other, and when we are on the field we are out there to win. As for now, we still have a few more weeks of the season ahead of us, and I look forward to you to coming to watch the competition of the possible future big leaguers.

Bill Rhinehart 

The Sags give it their all

Hello, this week I’m back with a few things I’d like to say about my team, the Peoria Saguaros.
Well, the Peoria Saguaros are combined with five different Major League organizations: the Cardinals, Padres, Mets, White Sox, and of course the Nationals…

Everyone that puts on their Peoria Saguaros uniform plays hard and never gives up – they give 100% every time they take the field. Playing in the Fall League is an experience everyone here needs.  It gives players a chance to showcase what they have against some of the best hitting and pitching that minor league baseball has to offer.
It really is and honor coming out here everyday and getting a chance to play with guys that have such great talent. Throughout its history, there have been a lot of great players to come through the Fall League and make a great impact in the Major Leagues.  Players such as Derek Jeter, Evan Longoria, Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, David Wright, Jimmy Rollins and the list continues… So being part of this is just a blessing for everyone fortunate enough to be here.
If there are any questions you want to ask, leave a comment and Ill be sure to respond back to you. Thanks for the words of encouragement so far and  thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Happy to be in Arizona

Hello, my name is Leonard Davis and I play in the Washington Nationals organization.  To give you all a little background on how I got here, I was drafted in the 8th round in 2004 by the Montreal Expos.  My first experience in professional baseball started in the Gulf Coast League down in Florida.  I had never been there before and adjusting to the conditions was not easy to say the least.  It would rain off and on and you never knew whether or not you would be playing that day.  We also experienced the remnants of a hurricane which caused tons of damage not only to our facility, but the entire league.

After the GCL, I played in the New York Penn league where I had my first .300 season in professional baseball.  My host family was amazing and very supportive throughout my time there.  In 2006, I experienced my first injury as a professional when I suffered a pulled quad and an AC joint separation in my left shoulder.  It limited my time on the field that season but I was able to rebound in 2007 where I started out in the South Atlantic League and ended up getting a promotion to the Carolina League after 4 months into the season.

This season, I started off in extended spring due to a wrist injury and was forced to rehab.  Three weeks later I went back to the Carolina League where I hit .330 with 14 home runs and earned a promotion to Harrisburg of the Eastern League.  After 10 games there, I earned another promotion after hitting nearly .500 and was sent to Columbus of the International League, where I finished the season. 

When I received the call informing me that I was going to Arizona, I couldn’t have been happier.  Starting off the season rehabbing and making my way through three different levels in one year was very satisfying.  The level of competition here is exactly what I was told it would be…challenging.  I’m still getting to know my teammates and so far it has been a great experience.

Tomorrow we have the Peoria Javelinas and I look forward to another hard fought battle.  That’s it for now.  See you again next week.