{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

LaValliere drilling catchers on framing curves

|

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Russell Martin already has a world-class reputation for framing pitches, and with Mike LaValliere's help is working on becoming even better at earning strikes for his pitchers.

Despite being unable to throw due to some shoulder soreness, Martin has been in the laboratory of the former Pirates catcher, in camp on manager Clint Hurdle's invitation as a special instructor. "Spanky" stands about 15 feet away and tosses balls to Martin into various quadrants of an imaginary strike zone.

Martin has to react quickly to grab each offering in his bare hand. Besides adding quickness, the drill is intended to get Martin accustomed to "giving" with the pitch -- hence the barehanded approach, as one would in an egg-catching contest -- to grab it in a good spot for the umpire to see it as a strike.

"We have so many guys on this staff with great overhand curveballs, where you catch them makes a big difference in what it gets called," LaValliere said. "This teaches you to catch the pitch on a good plane."

Speaking of catching, Martin's work habits are also contagious. Michael McKenry, the Bucs' No. 2 receiver, has made a point of asking LaValliere to put him through the same drills done by Martin.

"He wants to know how Russ does it, and wants to follow that path," LaValliere said.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español