Thursday, July 31, 2008

In Preparation of Exhibition

By: Dick Cooke


Yesterday was nothing but travel. 8:15 bus from San Jose State, long wait at the San Jose airport for our flight to Houston. We ultimately arrived Raleigh/Durham at 11 p.m., into the hotel shortly after midnight. The transition from a San Jose State dorm room into the Umstead Hotel and Spa was easy though...

9 a.m. – USA baseball gear and attire distributed. More stuff, more bags, packing challenges. We postponed our first official team meeting until Friday as we were pushed for time.

11:30 a.m. – Bus leaves for the USA Baseball Training complex in Cary. N.C., just 10 minutes from the hotel. We have a meet and greet with the media, do an autograph session and then grab some lunch and finally get on the field for practice at 2:30.

Short workout today as we have four exhibition games vs. Canada over next four days. Stretch and throw and then BP. Shorter BP rounds today as Reggie Smith, our hitting coach, wants the hitters to get acclimated to our allotted BP times in China. Most of the pitchers threw bullpens again and then it was back to the hotel by 4:30.

6:15 p.m. – We head over to the Embassy Suites to join Team Canada for a reception/dinner hosted by the Triangle Sports Commission. Good food and a fast paced event and everyone was out of there by 8:30.

Terry Puhl, the manager for Canada and Bob Watson, a former big league teammate of Puhl’ with the Astros who now serves as the GM for our team, introduce the members of the the respective teams.

All of Canada’s players are currently in the U.S. minor leagues except for two - Rheal Cormier and Chris Reitsma. Cormier had a 15-year big league career and gives them a legitimate late-inning left-handed reliever, and Reitsma is not far removed from being the closer for the Atlanta Braves. Canada always swings it well as a team and now their pitching depth makes them a true concern. Puhl feels like they have a shot at gold.

Tomorrow is our first games as a team, so we spent some time with Davey talking about line-ups and setting up the pitching over the next four days.

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