You may remember my 2008 series with pitching coach Scott Aldred, in which we sat down and talked at length about each of the pitchers on the staff at the time.
Well, that series is back this year, but with a new pitching coach, of course.
Former big league pitcher Tommy Phelps joined the Thunder coaching staff this year after Aldred was promoted to Scranton, and we recently sat down and talked about every pitcher who was on the pitching staff as of a few days ago.
In the tenth of a 13-part series, Phelps tells me what he thinks about Cuban defector Amaury Sanit, who will be the subject of an upcoming feature on this very blog.
Sanit’s season was derailed by a knee injury, but he’s been activated and is ready to pitch.
In any event, here’s what Phelps had to say about Sanit:
“He’s more of a veteran for this league. He can throw all his pitches for strikes. He changes angles. He goes out there and he competes. I think he played for Cuba and all that, so he’s got a lot of experience for this league. But he does a good job. He goes and attacks hitters and changes speeds well and goes right after them.”
I ask Phelps if it’s particularly difficult to communicate with Sanit, who speaks and understands very, very little English…
“No, because we’ve got Nova, who speaks pretty good English. Arias is pretty good. So (I go to them) whenever we have something that I don’t understand, and I understand a little bit of Spanish. With baseball though, it’s usually all about the same terminology and stuff, so it’s easy in that respect. Victor’s bilingual too, so he’s my translator whenever I need one.”
I ask Phelps if being a veteran for this league, like Sanit is, can backfire…considering he’s likely faced players better than the ones he is now…
“That can happen to some guys. But whether you’re back or here or whether you think you’re a veteran for this league, if you go out and compete every day and want to get better, it’s not going to make a difference. But when you want to feel sorry for yourself or you think you should be somewhere else and you’re not getting up every day to compete, yeah it’s going to affect you. But we haven’t had that from any of our guys here. They’re all wanting to get better and they know where they’re at, and they’re trying to get better so they can get to the next level.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com