PHOENIX -- Addison Russell is just 19, and experiencing his first ever big league camp. Naturally he was the only player hit by an errant pitch on Sunday.
"I feel fine, it's just a little stiff," Russell said seemingly in disbelief. "Pretty much sums it all up."
He was accidentally hit on the left knee by pitcher Arnold Leon. Russell walked it off, got some water, and was fine. His first infield session was far less eventful, in a good way.
He took grounders and made throws to first base in a group with fellow shortstops Hiro Nakajima, Jed Lowrie, Andy Parrino, and Darwin Perez. Even though he is still barely out of high school, he looked the part.
"He doesn't look like a youngster," Melvin said. "The ball jumps off his bat, he's got a live arm."
The Pace, Florida native played 55 games last season after being picked by Oakland. He started in the Arizona Rookie League, was called up to low-A Vermont, and ended the season in Class-A Burlington. He hit .310 with seven homers, 45 RBI, 16 stolen bases, and 23 walks in total. He hopes to make the most of his big league camp.
"It's pretty cool because I want to pick up some knowledge," Russell said. "I get to pick up some of their good habits and learn from them."
For the record: Leon apologized to Russell after he completed his throwing sessions.
Young Man's Game
Yoenis Cespedes crushed a ball over the batter's eye in dead center on the last pitch of the day. Prior to that, Chris Young was the reigning champ. He clubbed a ball thrown by Melvin over the left-center wall that sailed right over the 385 foot marker.
"Boy that guy can hit," Scott Hatteberg remarked as he watched the ball fly.
Nakajima's Continues to Impress:
As mentioned earlier, Nakajima was part of a group taking infield. He looked impressive as he fielded the ball and completed throws to first base. He made every throw (that I saw) accurately and didn't bounce the ball to first once. I followed up with Melvin about Nakajima's arm, because he knows quite a bit more about baseball than I do.
"The one thing we've heard is maybe the arm strength isn't there, but I haven't seen that." Melvin said.
At one point during batting practice Josh Reddick slid for a ball and barely missed. He then went into a full on mock-tantrum. First he spiked his glove like Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. Next he kicked the ball. It was quite the scene. Reddick has stated that he plans to cut back on the theatrics in order to take on a veteran role. Maybe he's trying to get them out of the way now. It was pretty comical, though.
Garrett Olson has a cramp in his right hamstring so he sat out. It's a minor issue and Melvin says he probably could have thrown, but they didn't want to push anything this early.