“Ask Sam” – Your Baseball Questions Answered By MLB Coach Sam Perlozzo August 2015

Ask Sam Perlozzo - Twins

Welcome to the latest “Ask Sam.”

I’m Sam Perlozzo and I’m the minor league infield and baserunning coordinator for the Minnesota Twins. A former manager and coach at the major league level, I am also one of Professional Baseball Instruction’s Major League Advisors. Each month, I answer your baseball-related questions.

Inside BaseballBefore we get into this month’s questions, I want to remind you about something brand new that I’m involved in and very excited about. Fellow PBI Advisor Leo Mazzone and I have teamed up with former MLB players Roy Halladay, Dave Magadan, Jody Reed, Tom Foley and others on a new website called Inside Baseball. We offer the world’s largest online library of baseball training videos with proven advice and training methods designed to help baseball players of all abilities improve their game. I hope you’ll take a few moments to check out the website; there’s a lot of excellent information there.

Now, let’s get to your questions. And remember, if you have something you’d like to ask? Email me directly – AskSam@baseballclinics.com.

MLB Catcher

Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

Q: Sam – With a runner on first, a ground ball is played by catcher. The catcher throws to first, and the batter is called out. The runner on first does not advance, is tagged but ruled safe. Is this the right call? – Alex

A: Alex, if the batter is called out on the throw and the runner is free to come back to the bag at his own risk. He is also free to advance to 2nd. The force out is no longer in effect once the play is made on the runner at first. Therefore if he is tagged, he is out. Assuming that the runner is not standing on any base, then he is out. I have seen runners start off first base, stop and wait for first baseman to tag first and throw to 2nd, then come back to first. The main thing to remember on this play is that the force out is negated by touching first base first. Sounds like they may have gotten that call wrong unless we don’t have all the data. Hope this helps!!! – Sam

Pinch Hit - Lowell Spinners

Photo courtesy of the Lowell Spinners

Q: Sam – My son plays 12U travel ball in CT. The coaches are pretty notorious for the way they treat kids but they teach the fundamentals very well. Today, in the bottom of the last inning, down by two, with one out and runners on second and third, my son Adam was on deck. He took his practice swings and stepped to the plate. It was at that moment that the coach brought in a pinch hitter. I was really taken aback at the coach’s decision and thought it could only be detrimental to Adam in almost every way. Am I crazy or is this out of line? Thanks for your time. – Dave

A: Dave, first of all I feel your pain. Getting pinch hit for is part of the game. Having said that, I always tried to keep from running a guy up to the plate and having him come all the way back. There are other circumstances that do come into play though. If your manager was trying to see if the other team was going to bring in another relief pitcher, then his strategy was understandable.

I’ve done that in the minor leagues as well as the major leagues. So if he sends your son to the plate and he hits right- handed, then the other manager brings in another right-hander, then your team can pinch hit a left handed hitter. What that is all about is to force the other manager make a move so that you can pinch hit the opposite side. That happens all the time in pro ball.

Now if that is not the case in your situation, I would say the manager was late in making a decision, and could cause some embarrassment. But Dave, that is all it should be. We’ve all been pinch hit for before, it’s no big deal. Try to move past this and continue to teach your son the proper way to play the game. Best of luck. Put that in your memory bank for later. I never liked being late on any moves. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. – Sam

Q: Hey Sam – I am going into my junior year of high school and I’ve performed pretty well. But I still have flaws in my swing, the major flaw being my front elbow bending in my swing. I was wondering if you have a drill or tip to help me. Thanks, Kai.

One-arm hitting drillA: Kai, that would be a lot easier question to answer if I knew exactly what you meant by bending. Without seeing or knowing exactly what you mean, I am at a disadvantage. That being said, everyone’s elbow bends when swinging. You may want to try a very light bat and choke up or a half bat that you can hold in one hand and swing. In other words, if you are right handed, then hold the bat in your left hand and put a ball on a tee. Simulate your batting stance, while holding the bat in your hitting position. Then swing and hit the ball with one arm. It teaches you to be short to the ball while getting some extension in your swing. Maybe that is what your are describing. Make sure the bat is light as this will put some strain on your arm if done too long. See if that helps, and if not try and give me a better visual so that I can help you further. Best of Luck, Sam

Mets pitchers

Photo courtesy of NJ.com

Q: Sam – Why can’t a team use their 4 starters to pitch 2-3 innings each game instead of the current system of 1 starter & an array of relievers? A pitcher would only have to face the rotation once. Thank you, Jim Jones, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

A: Jim, the biggest reason that can’t work is the pitchers would never get a day off, meaning they would pitch at least one or two innings every night. The arms would never hold up without any rest. I understand your thinking, but even relievers need time off from game stress on their arms. Also, even though it sounds good in theory, nothing always goes as planned, especially in baseball. What I mean by that is that what happens if a pitcher can’t get through one of his innings? Then you put more of a load on the other guys.

Good question, and I have seen many times where a team has no starter for the day and have to use most of their bullpen to get through the game The whole gist of pitching these days is to keep your pitchers’ arms healthy. Too many surgeries. So that would be the major road block for me. The game changes all the time. Who knows??!! Thanks for the question! – Sam

Thanks again for the great questions. I always enjoy talking baseball with people. Send your questions to me via email at AskSam@baseballclinics.com.

Speak Your Mind