St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Schedule
The Trop
The Trop
Getting to the Trop
Best routes
Parking
Interactive
Rays forum
The art of pitching
Links
Devil Rays' official home site
Talk baseball in our Devil Rays forum



printer version

Bierbrodt earns praise for poise

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 22, 2003


ST. PETERSBURG -- The manager was extremely encouraged. The pitching coach offered heaps of praise.

As for Nick Bierbrodt?

He was just happy to be there, throwing batting practice on a back field at the Naimoli complex.

It was during spring training last year that Bierbrodt, a promising young candidate for the rotation, inexplicably lost the ability to throw the ball over the plate. His wildness was so severe the Rays had to take him off the mound.

And that, it turned out, wasn't even the worst thing that happened to him. After regaining enough control to pitch in minor-league games, Bierbrodt was shot twice by an unknown assailant while on a rehabilitation assignment in Charleston, S.C.

He has recovered from the injuries and gotten himself into impressive shape, but the true test will come on the mound. Friday was the first time he faced hitters since the incident and, apart from some problems keeping his breaking ball down, the results couldn't have been much better.

"He threw the ball very easy, he threw a lot of strikes, he seemed very comfortable out there," manager Lou Piniella said. "He's got a nice arm, he really does. His ball has got a lot of life at the hitting area.

"I'm sure he's been waiting for that. It's a first step, but it was extremely encouraging. If you watched him, you wouldn't know anything had happened."

Pitching coach Chris Bosio praised Bierbrodt for his stuff and his approach.

"He's got that fire in his eye that I like," Bosio said. "I see him every morning, and I see that with Nick. Whatever he went through last year on and off the field, I think he pushed that aside and he moved on."

Said Bierbrodt: "Before I pitched, I thought I might have been a little more nervous or anxious. I just tried to treat it like a bullpen (session). I really wasn't trying to get anyone out. With what happened last year, I was just trying to show everyone I could throw the ball over the plate.

SHARP-EYED: Newly hired major-league consultant Syd Thrift made his first appearance at camp Friday and got right to work.

One of his projects involves bringing in sports vision specialist Dr. Bill Harrison, who will test the position players and work with them on such things as dynamic visual acuity, depth perception, aiming and tracking accuracy, eye muscle training and eye-hand-body control and coordination.

MAKING IMPRESSIONS: In addition to Bierbrodt, Piniella praised Victor Zambrano, another candidate for a spot in the rotation. ... Bosio singled out Jason Standridge, who is trying to improve his breaking ball: "He's made good improvement and threw great." ... Overall, Bosio is pleased with the staff: "I'll tell you, I'm cautious right now, but I'm really enthused with what I'm seeing."

MISCELLANY: Catcher Angel Pena joined the team after being delayed in the Dominican Republic with visa complications. Piniella's reaction: "He's a little heavy." ... Standridge will throw out the first pitch at Northeast Little League at 2:15 today. ... The Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens will make its annual lunch visit Monday.


Back to the Rays
Today's lineup

Rays
  • Veteran pitchers hope they are in right place
  • Bierbrodt earns praise for poise

  • Bucs
  • Gruden: Bucs have plenty of work to do
  • Players may have a ring of their own

  • Lightning
  • Lost chances, one lost point
  • Right wing becomes a casualty of victories

  • Other sports

    Grand Prix
  • The roar at their door
  • Two sparkling debuts
  • A new Player's on the scene
  • Rival's sales still strong
  • Souvenirs move quickly, not just for CART drivers
  • Respect from garage comes in her own time
  • Rookies not major cause for concern yet
  • The next Unser takes more gradual path
  • Race-side parkers pay $25
  • Safety crews stand by for race

  • Golf
  • Game change pays off
  • TV analyst strives to improve game
  • Back pain sends Palmer home; tee times moved up
  • Howell leads by one in a day of surprises

  • College basketball
  • Salukis, mid-majors get rare day in sun
  • Suspended Red Raider quits team
  • Hot home team or hot team?
  • Saluki-meter
  • Big man shines at small school

  • NFL
  • QB Palmer not scared to land in Cincinnati

  • Baseball
  • Johnson shut down because of pain in wrist
  • Selig wants talks on ban reopened

  • NHL
  • Islanders end Avalanche's points streak

  • In brief
  • Marshall interested in series with USF

  • Sailing
  • Lack of wind delays Race 4 a second time

  • Boxing
  • Lacy hopes win boosts his ranking

  • NBA
  • McGrady scores 52, sits for fourth

  • Motorsports
  • Weather aids first pole win for Blaney

  • Preps
  • Aggressive defense puts Gaither in final
  • Extra practice pays off for stronger Terrapins
  • Northside shuffles athletic hierarchy
  • Eagles get revenge in shutout
  • Cougars' attackers neutralize Hurricanes
  • Familiar foe sinks Berkeley
  • Warhawks end drought
  • Larson jumper lifts Baptist
  • Crusaders hold off Robinson comeback
  • Showdown set for Lions, Chiefs
  • Spongers outlast Cougars
  • Durant surges past Palm Harbor in OT
  • CCC returns to final four
  • Warhawks end drought
  • Cobras battle No.1 Nease but fall short
  • Gators among final four
  • Pirates play poor at the worst time
  • Pasco charges into title game

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     


     Devil Rays Forums
    From The Wire
  • Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration
  • AP source: Yankees sign free agent RHP Kuroda
  • AP source: Pineda, Montero in Yanks-Mariners swap
  • Resop, Pirates agree to a one-year deal
  • Zambrano says he's happy with trade to Marlins
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week