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Mitre playing catch-up

Eddie Altamonte

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http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/basebal...-sports-marlins

Right-hander Mitre playing catch-up

By Juan C. Rodriguez
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 23, 2007


JUPITER ? The shoulder trouble that torpedoed Sergio Mitre's 2006 season has him a few steps behind his fellow pitchers this spring.

His teammates are throwing live batting practice, but Mitre continues to pitch on the side to strengthen the shoulder. He is throwing every other day with the hopes of catching up to the rest of the staff.

"I started throwing a little bit late because of the rehab, make sure the shoulder was good and the nerve was good," said Mitre, who didn't begin throwing off the mound until January. "It feels good right now, feels great."

Acquired last offseason from the Cubs in the Juan Pierre trade, Mitre exited after the third pitch of his seventh start (May 12) and did not appear in a game again until Aug. 10. That was the first of eight August appearances before the Marlins shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Mitre estimates being at about 70 percent. His priority right now is rediscovering his mechanics and arm slot.

"I'm trying to be a little bit conservative so it comes to that point where, `OK, got to go,'" Mitre said. "I should be ready for the start of the season. The only thing that stinks about taking the pace I'm at is that I won't be ready for the [Grapefruit League] games as quick as I want to be."

PIGSKIN PRACTICE

Pitchers sometimes throw footballs to loosen up their arms and strengthen shoulder muscles.

Third base coach Bo Porter has incorporated the football into the outfielders' workout program. To make sure players keep their arms tucked when running for fly balls, Porter has them cradle a football in their non-glove hand.

"He was talking about how guys start running and before you get to the ball your arms start going out to help you slow down," right fielder Jeremy Hermida said. "It makes you start bouncing around a little bit. ... It's interesting and something I've never done before. I like it."

Toting a football wasn't a stretch for Joe Borchard, a former quarterback at Stanford.

"It actually felt pretty natural," said Borchard, who managed not to hurt any teammates while throwing them some passes recently. "I surprised Eric Reed a little bit, but that was about it."

HAPPY FEET

While playing in Japan last season, Joe Dillon tried a new method to avoid blisters on his feet. Most of the players there wear socks with "fingers" for each toe, the equivalent of having gloves on your feet.

"They do it because they think they have better traction or whatever so their toes can spread out," Dillon said. "I'd seen guys from Japan have them over here before. I just tried them because I was getting blisters in spring training on my toes. I got used to them."

The trend hasn't spread through the Marlins clubhouse, probably because as Dillon said, "I'm not going around flaunting them."
 

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