In a logical continuation of his popular winter ball reports from Colombia, each week the first baseman will be sharing his experiences from spring training in Jupiter, Fla., where he is currently among a group of 26 players participating in early minor league camp.
Time to get back to the grind. Upon arriving in Palm Beach, Florida, that humidity hit me like a half ton of bricks. I only say a half because it's not even close to what I know it is capable of. The weather has been a little cloudy the last few days but it is clearing up.
The first day I arrived at my locker only to find that all my equipment (cleats, training shoes, under shirts, etc.) that was supposed to be provided by Under Armour hadn't yet been delivered. I especially needed the cleats, because to save room in my travel bags, I didn't bring an extra pair to Florida. So even though this is my fourth spring training, I'm still making rookie mistakes. Go figure.
Anyway, I have reported to this early mini camp about two weeks before all the other minor leaguers are scheduled to arrive. It's a privilege and an honor to have been selected to come and get a little head start, but it is weird seeing the "big league" spring training going on just a field away. It almost makes you feel like you are good enough to be invited a little early - but not quite good enough to be over there on the field with 'those guys'. It's only motivation to keep working though.
The first day, when I arrived to put my things in my locker, it hit me hard that the organization of which I am a part won the 2011 World Series. There were reporters and cameras surrounding the outside of the clubhouse. I even saw MLB Network anchor Greg Amsinger. That was a little weird because for the past month or so I have been watching him on TV every day. So after the shell-hocked feeling wore off, I started getting settled in. It's a great feeling to be back to playing again and competing.
Our first day consisted of getting our physicals done and signing a bunch of medical paperwork and then a small workout. To be back on the field just brought out in me excitement and a joyous feeling that I haven't felt since playing winter ball in Colombia.
It was great to see a bunch of the guys, coaches in the organization as well as the trainers and weightlifting coaches. It's almost like you can't help but smile when you see people that you haven't seen in five or six months. It is almost like one big family reunion where everyone's first question is "How was your offseason?"
Our first workout was good - mostly because it was quick and to the point. I only say that because I know when all the other guys arrive to spring training, we will be having long days, so I have to enjoy the short ones while I can.
Next week I'll be able to tell you more about our workouts, my fellow minor leaguers, coaches and the people I encounter. I believe I'm supposed to meet Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee this week and you had better believe I'm excited about that!
I'll keep writing and I'm sure I'll have some real good material next week. After all, this is only the beginning!
Follow me on Twitter @Xavier_Scruggs.
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