Rafael Soriano faced live hitters for the first time on Tuesday, throwing batting practice to Wilson Ramos, Nate McLouth and others on Field 2 in the minor league complex. Soriano normally has a different program and pitching schedule than most; he likes to start his bullpen sessions, especially live batting practice, later in spring training. As a 12-year major league veteran, he knows what his body needs and how to conserve his arm. Opening day is more than a month away.
Soriano, who at 34 has the most experienced arm on the roster, was the last pitcher in camp to throw a bullpen session. And, his live batting practice session on Tuesday was earlier than normal for him; last year his first live batting practice session was on Feb. 27. (He did report late to camp because of visa issues.) On Wednesday morning, Soriano said he felt worn out, but added that he’s not hurt. Manager Matt Williams praised Soriano on Tuesday afternoon for his stuff and progress so far in camp.
“It was alright,” Soriano said. “It was the first (live) bullpen.”
In the offseason, Soriano normally starts playing catch in December and throwing bullpen sessions in January in his native Dominican Republic. He said he had thrown four bullpens there before reporting to camp. When he reported to camp, Soriano stated his case about his routine to Williams, who consented to some of the closer’s program.
“I don’t normally throw at this time,” Soriano said. “You know, with a new guy, everyone wants to make a good impression.”
Soriano said has another bullpen session scheduled for Friday.