Tyler Clippard cherishes memory of striking out Derek Jeter

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Tyler Clippard cherishes memory of striking out Derek Jeter


VIERA, Fla. – Washington Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard has a longtime relationship and personal appreciation for Derek Jeter as a caring teammate, an offseason workout partner and a gentleman away from the ballpark.

He also carries a special memory of his only time on the mound facing Jeter, the time he struck out the future Hall of Famer and didn’t even know it.

“I remember the at-bat from pitch to pitch,” said Clippard, who began his career with the Yankees before establishing himself as a Nationals setup ace.

The day was June 16, 2012. It was the ninth inning of a 3-3 game at Nationals Park. Jeter, already 0-for-4 with three line-drive outs, was at the plate with the go-ahead run at second base and one out.

“I fell behind him 2-0 and threw a changeup,” recalled Clippard, a ninth-round pick of the Yankees in 2003. “I thought the umpire called it a ball, but he called it a strike. In my mind, it was 3-0 and the catcher [Jesus Flores] called for a changeup. I’m like, ‘OK. It’s Jeter. Why not?’

“So I throw [what I think is] a 3-0 changeup for a called strike, then a fastball a little up in the zone. He swung and missed and started walking back to the dugout. I’m like, ‘What the heck happened there?’ Maybe the lesson is not to think too much.”

Clippard, 29, who has struck out 466 batters in 420 2/3 big-league innings and recently signed a $5.875-million contract for 2014, says it’s highly unusual for him to remember every pitch of a particular at-bat.

“There are only a handful of times I can remember, pitch to pitch, how an at-bat went, and that one is because it was him,” he said. “I wanted to be able to talk smack to him. I did end up talking to him about the at-bat during the offseason and I don’t think he even remembered it. That’s how significant it was to him.”

Jeter actually got the last laugh, although he finished 1-for-7 and committed an error in that 2012 game. His 14th-inning single helped set up Mark Teixeira’s two-run double in a 5-3 Yankees victory.

That came as no surprise to Clippard, who has trained alongside Jeter with sports performance coach Jason Riley at the Saddlebrook Resort (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and, more recently, The Performance Compound in Tampa since his minor-league days with the Yankees.

“His retirement will be sort of a sad day for baseball. He’s been such a great player,” said Clippard, whose appreciation for Jeter extends to the way he treats acquaintances on and off the diamond. “For a guy who is as famous and as big a name as he is, to be as down to earth and humble and receiving of all types of people is cool to watch.”

Clippard said he realized that from the first time he and Jeter crossed paths.

“I was in the Yankees’ organization — rookie ball — when I first met him at the complex. He was walking by and we made eye contact. He was like, ‘Hey, nice to meet you. I’m Derek.’ He talked to me for maybe 30 seconds, but it seemed like 10 minutes because I was in awe of him. From my perspective, I wondered: Why would he take time out of his day to say hi to me?

“It’s a formula that has worked for him and he’s stuck to it. That’s how he is with everyone, but it’s something I’ll never forget. I don’t know if he does it on purpose or not, but it’s a beautiful thing. He’s just a good dude.”

Seth Livingstone – newsday.com

Feb 15, 2014

An interview with Reds prospect Sean Buckley

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An interview with Reds prospect Sean Buckley

The 2013 campaign will mark the third professional season for Reds prospect Sean Buckley. Sean, who is the son of Reds scouting director Chris Buckley, was drafted by Cincinnati in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft out of St. Petersburg College.

He is currently listed by MLB.com as the eighth-best prospect in the minor league system and is expected to begin the year in Bakersfield with the Single-A Blaze.

The 23-year-old spent last year with Single-A Dayton and batted .244 with 14 homers, 28 doubles, and 68 RBI.

Chase recently had the chance to catch up with Sean and that conversation is detailed below. A big thanks goes to the 6-foot-4 slugger for taking the time to do this.

You had a rough year but finished off the season strong. Think that gives you momentum going into next season?

I wouldn’t say I had a rough year, just definitely not the year I expected. However I did finish strong and that also carried over into a good instructional league. I improved my pitch selection, cut down on strikeouts and just had more quality at bats. I also felt like i improved my defensive play in the outfield. I do believe that will give me some momentum leading into the 2013 season

What is your proudest individual achievement?

My proudest individual moment would have to be the day I signed and officially became a professional.

What is your favorite spot to hit in the lineup?

I’m fine with hitting in any spot of the lineup, but I would prefer 3rd-5th to give me the most RBI opportunities.

How old were you when you realized that you were going to make it to the pros?

I knew I wanted to be a professional baseball player since I was about 2 or 3. I really didn’t know that could become a reality until I was selected in the draft out of high school.

Who did you look up to when you were growing up?

The person I look up to most would definitely be my father. My favorite player growing up was Chipper Jones.

Do you follow the big league club much?

I always follow the big league club along with all our other affiliates. I like to know what’s going on within the organization and keep up with all the guys.

Did you train with any of your teammates this offseason?

I trained with Jesse Winker and Joe Hudson at the performance compound in Tampa during the offseason.

Who is your current favorite MLB player?

My favorite current MLB player is Josh Hamilton

What are your expectations for the coming season?

My expectations for this season are to stay healthy, improve as a player and help my team win.

What are some of your personal goals?

I don’t really like to set specific statistical goals. Of course I have statistical estimates I would like to be in the range of but I prefer to set goals such as to become a better hitter and outfielder. Make a league all star game and help my team get to the playoffs. I believe if I achieve those goals, the specific statistics will be pretty good as well.

Chase Fitzgerald – Redlegs Review

Apr 2, 2013

Rays’ Odorizzi hopes weight gain improves strength

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Rays’ Odorizzi hopes weight gain improves strength


Seeking to strengthen his core and base, Odorizzi was on an exercise-and-diet regimen to add weight and was happy to have put on 17 pounds, reporting to camp at 197.

“It was just eating a lot of food, obviously healthy food, but pretty much as much as I could shovel in,” Odorizzi said. “Pretty much every meal I ate was larger than I would have had last year. … There were just a lot of meals, like six or seven a day. I’d eat something every two-three hours.”

Breakfast some days was four eggs, plus ham and cheese. Lunch and dinner, large portions of fish, steak, chicken and rice. Usually a protein shake after workouts and before bed.

Working with teammate RHP Chris Archer at Tampa’s Performance Compound at the direction of Jason Riley (whose past clients included Derek Jeter), Odorizzi — coming off a solid 11-13, 4.13 rookie season — was very pleased with the program.

“My upper body’s not that much different, it’s almost all from the waist down,” Odorizzi said. “Just more strength for pitching, and more stability. … More body control having a sturdier base.”

Odorizzi, who will stick to a tailored version of the plan to maintain weight during camp, is eager to see how it impacts his performance, or possibly even his velocity.

“I feel really good, that’s the main thing,” he said. “Everything feels good coming out, my body feels strong. That’s the most I can ask for coming into spring.”

CODE RED: Sunday was a big day for OF Kevin Kiermaier, who overcame his fear of seeing blood to get through his physical with no issues. “I survived, I didn’t pass out this year,” he said. “In years past, I would throw up and I would pass out. It was my most dreaded day of spring training, that first day of getting physicals. I beat myself up mentally about it, but I became very mentally strong over the years and today I conquered it, so I’m happy.”

PITCHING IN: Two of the 31 rostered pitchers are expected to miss today’s first official workout, visa issues delaying RHP Alex Colome’s departure from the Dominican Republic and non-roster RHP Ronald Belisario from Venezuela. Colome, who was suspended 50 games last season for PED use, could have an extended delay. … RHP Alex Cobb and LHP Drew Smyly are among the 15 pitchers scheduled for bullpen sessions today.

HELPING HAND: LHP Jake McGee and RHPs Brad Boxberger and Kirby Yates took part in the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Fashion Funds the Cure event Saturday in Tampa, walking the runway with the ill children. “It’s an awesome experience,” McGee said. “It’s just so rewarding to see all the kids there and be able to hang out with them.”

MISCELLANY: Overall 52 of the 63 players were in camp by Sunday. … New manager Kevin Cash, in his first official act, plans a brief address to the players, with a bigger speech to the full squad Saturday. … The biggest star in the clubhouse Sunday was noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, the team’s medical director. … Among interesting locker placement, rookie OF Steven Souza is next to team leader 3B Evan Longoria.


Posted Feb 23, 2015

Rays’ Odorizzi bulks up to prep for season

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Rays’ Odorizzi bulks up to prep for season


TAMPA (FOX 13) – Jake Odorizzi is on the path to be the Rays’ Mr. Reliable. He didn’t miss a start in his first full major league season last year.

Odorizzi comes to camp this spring with just one goal, and it’s the foundation he believes will put him in position to raise his game.

“Right now, it’s to stay healthy throughout this whole camp and get ready for the season,” Odorizzi said.

Odorizzi arrived ready. Physically, he believes in his best shape of his career. He’s bigger and stronger.

Part of Odorizzi’s workout was tossing around a medicine ball. For a lot of players over the winter, it’s all about getting in better shape and shedding some pounds. For Odorizzi, it was all about packing on the pounds — 17 to be exact.

“It was hard, it wasn’t easy,” Odorizzi said. “It was a lot of eating. Sounds like it would be easy, but you get to a point where food doesn’t sound that good. You just have to keep going. My goal was 20, but I was a little bit short. I gladly will take this weight from what I was coming into spring last year. Just more sound and more sturdy.”

It was a complete change in diet, which was a bigger challenge than working out.

“Four eggs, ham and cheese, oatmeal, banana and I’d have chicken and rice, that type of stuff. It was all healthy based stuff and a big dinner. It was fun, though. I liked to cook and grill out. It wasn’t too much of a chore.”

Odorizzi didn’t it alone. Chris Archer teamed up with him at Performance Compound and at the Trop. Putting on the extra pounds isn’t to impress, it has a big purpose.

“I was 180 coming into last year,” Odorizzi said. “I was kind of wiry still for being 6’1”. I wanted to have lower body strength and core strength. That’s where my gains were, lower body. We did a lot of legs. I thought having a sturdier base would help my arm out as the year goes on.”

Odorizzi believes adding weight will lead to wins. A victory per pound? That’s a number he’d be satisfied with.

By: Kevin O’Donnell, FOX 13 Sports

Posted: Jan 25, 2015 3:47 PM EST

Updated: Mar 25, 2015 3:48 PM EDT

Jake Odorizzi has added 15 pounds this winter

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Jake Odorizzi has added 15 pounds this winter


Chris Archer was recently a guest on the MLB Network and he was asked about his off-season workouts.

Archer spoke at length about training at the Performance Compound in Tampa. He also mentioned some of the other players who also train there and that is when he dropped this little nugget about teammate Jake Odorizzi.

“Jake Odorizzi is there. He has put on 15 pounds this off-season.”

Odorizzi was listed as 6-2, 185 pounds last season. An additional 15 pounds would presumably put him at 200 pounds this season. That’s still not quite as big as a James Shields who is listed at 6-3, 215 pounds. But it should go a long ways to helping Odorizzi’s endurance as he tries to become a 200-inning pitcher in 2015.

On a side-note, Archer appears to be about an inch taller this season thanks to some new hair.

Cork Gaines – raysindex.com

Posted Feb 9, 2015

Reach More Ground Balls With Derek Jeter’s Lower-Body Workout

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Reach More Ground Balls With Derek Jeter’s Lower-Body Workout


Derek Jeter is in his 20th season as a professional baseball player. In 18 of those seasons, the man Yankee fans call “The Captain” appeared in at least 119 games. Jeter has been one of the most durable and productive athletes in MLB history. Now in his final season (Jeter plans to retire at the end of the year), the 13-time All-Star is at the center of the RE2PECT social media campaign honoring his contribution to the game—and he has the Bronx Bombers near the top of the American League East once again.

How has Jeter remained so quick and nimble at the shortstop position for so many years? Through speed and agility drills focused on keeping his legs strong and explosive. Jason Riley, director of performance at the Performance Compound in Tampa, worked with Jeter on movement patterns that allow him to attack ground balls coming from any angle.

“Our job is to re-create movement patterns that optimize his performance,” said Riley. “[We focused on] synchronization of the motor units as well as the firing of the motor units—getting all that to work together to make his movements more powerful and more explosive, and overall allow him to do that through an entire season and not wear out.”

Jeter said the workouts were difficult but extremely beneficial to him on the field. “We really worked on strengthening my legs and side-to-side lateral movement and first-step quickness,” he said.

To improve your leg strength, lateral movement and explosiveness, perform Jeter’s workout, below.


Lateral Single-Leg Hurdle Hops


Stand with a row of mini-hurdles spread about a yard apart to your left. Jump over each hurdle with your left foot, making sure you land softly. Aim for quick hops—don’t try to reach maximum height. After clearing the last hurdle, burst into a five-yard sprint. Repeat on your opposite leg.

Sets/Reps: 3×5 each leg

Band-Resisted Shuffle


Start in an athletic stance with a partner providing band resistance from the right. Keeping your hips low, shuffle to your left slowly with your partner providing steady and continuous resistance with the band. Take the prescribed number of steps, then switch and repeat in the opposite direction.

Sets/Reps: 3×4-5 steps each direction

Med Ball Pick-Up


Balance on your left leg with your right leg held slightly off the ground. Bend your left knee to squat down and pick up the ball. Lift the ball off the ground and stand up tall. Reverse the motion, slowly lowering the med ball down and placing it back on the ground. Stand up straight in the starting position. That’s one rep.

Sets/Reps: 2×10 each leg

Jordan Zirm – stack.com

Jul 1 2014

Making a difference in world a mission for Rays’ Chris Archer

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Making a difference in world a mission for Rays’ Chris Archer


PORT CHARLOTTE — Like other talented young pitchers on the front end of promising careers, Rays opening day starter Chris Archer hopes to help his team win lots of games over the next few years. Getting a few All-Star selections, making a couple of World Series appearances and earning a Cy Young Award or two would be even better.

Then Archer wants to get on to the really important stuff.

“I feel the reason we are on this earth is to be a positive influence,” he said.

“And to positively impact as many lives as we can. “I try to use baseball and my success in my industry as a platform to do that. … And hopefully one day I can reach millions.”

He has his reasons, his ideas, his philosophies.

And he’s not shy about sharing them.

That’s why he asks the Rays for opportunities to speak to youth groups, make charitable appearances or visit hospitals during every home stand. Why he offers unsolicited opinions on topics such as nutritional advice and training tips for kids to avoid injuries. Why he invests time and money building his Archway Foundation into what he hopes will become a national organization of youth centers.

“I feel like I’m good at baseball and can use baseball to help people,” Archer said. “And the more success I have in baseball, the more people I can help. So it’s dual-purposing the entire way through.”

Archer, 26, is a bit different anyway.

Born to a white mother and black father (whom he has met just once), Archer, in an extraordinarily unusual family situation, was adopted and raised by his maternal grandmother and her husband and considers them his parents.

Graduated from public high school with middling grades, Archer pushed himself to become a voracious reader of thick historical, motivational, “self-growth” books, developing an intellectual, thoughtful perspective and advanced vocabulary that befuddles some Rays personnel and definitely presents as college educated.

Surrounded by teammates who often are bland and detached by design, Archer has earned a reputation with fans and media as one of the game’s most engaging, conversational and gregarious players.

New Rays manager Kevin Cash didn’t need long to get the sense Archer was special. “A deep thinker, highly intellectual and very caring,” Cash said. “He cares about what he’s doing, but he cares about the people around him a lot. We had lunch and we didn’t talk about him at all. We talked about his teammates and some different things he brought up … impressions he’s had.”

Get Archer going and he talks like he wants to save the world. And right now, this second.

But he understands, albeit frustratingly, that entering just his second full season in the majors, playing for the small-market Rays, having just 20 wins for his career, he is more of a local than marquee attraction.

When he goes out to speak, it’s typically to small groups, such as at the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center or, when representing the Good Sports equipment donation group, the St. Petersburg Police Athletic League Center and, last week, the Charlotte High baseball team. (He did get an opportunity in December to go to South Africa as part of Major League Baseball’s Ambassador Program. He found that rewarding and enriching, and is eager for more trips.)

While appreciative, Archer is hoping to advance, via his onfield success, to grander stages. “But I have to get to a point,” he said, “where people would reach out and would want me to come.”

Similarly, he was motivated during his winter workouts at Tampa’s Performance Compound to speak out against excessive youth league demands that endanger players’ health, but he didn’t have the proper forum.

“If 10 News or the Tampa Bay Times or ESPN or whoever wants to do a story to grow awareness or how to prepare, I’m down (to do it),” he said. “But I know I’m not the premier guy. I’m not the (Giancarlo) Stanton, I’m not the Mike Trout, I’m not the Clayton Kershaw.”

Whom he would like to be is David Price, the former Rays ace traded to Detroit. Though Archer considers his adoptive father, Ron Archer, his biggest role model, his onfield icon, ahead of Torii Hunter and Derek Jeter, is Price.

“He is that genuine, caring person who is elite in his profession,” Archer said.

Price has mutual admiration. “Arch is the guy that treats people the right way and sees the good in everyone,” Price said Friday. “And he works as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Archer speaks reverently about the lessons learned from Price, about what to do to become a better pitcher and a better person and how to do so.

Among several examples, Archer recalls a day shortly after he was sent down a few springs ago when Price arranged for Sonny’s BBQ to bring lunch for the all the minor-league players — an upgrade from the usual fare — as something of a good-luck sendoff.

So a week or so ago, Archer did the same. “I knew how much that meant to me,” he said. “So I was going to pay that forward.”

That desire to do good and to be positive is at the core of Archer’s message on all platforms.

He stresses it in his speeches, such as when he tells the wayward boys and girls at the detention center about his own youthful transgressions, vandalism and petty theft and challenges them to turn their own lives into even better turnaround stories.

He insists on it for programs administered by his foundation, such as requiring the 9- and 10-year-old kids on the two travel-ball teams he sponsors in his Clayton, N.C., hometown to earn their free participation by doing community service, helping their parents with chores and reading assigned books.

He tweets about it regularly on his @ChrisArcher42 account, providing an almost daily offering of inspirational and motivational quotes he collects from “spiritual coach” Howard Falco (whom he has befriended), plus books and other sources.

“I think we can all agree that there needs to be more positive-ness in the world,” Archer said. “So I feel like I’m doing what we’re all here to do.”

He is constantly looking to do more, formulating new plans (such as joining with players from the Bucs, Lightning and Magic to speak to kids as a team), seeking to connect with similar-minded successful athletes (Derrick Brooks, for one), taking on additional responsibilities (serving as the Rays union rep) and incessantly trying to learn.

One of the first things he asked Cash, who previously was Cleveland’s bullpen coach, was how 2014 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber had his breakthrough season. When new commissioner Rob Manfred visited camp last week, Archer cornered him with a series of questions, including whether Manfred could help arrange for him to take a business or sports management class at an Ivy League school.

Archer can also have a defiant side, taking on Boston’s David Ortiz in a bit of a verbal tussle last season, noting he doesn’t “necessarily agree with how the traditional education system works,” mocking those who question whether he is too cocky, too smart for his own good, too concerned with his off-field pursuits.

“The ignorance in this world is sad,” he said, “and this is why there needs to be more positive influencing.”

Though he is involved with Good Sports, Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Reading With the Rays program, Archer’s legacy will be built with the Archway Foundation (archwayfoundation.com), the name a play not just off his way of doing things but the concept of an arch bridging otherwise unconnected points.

From small beginnings in his home state, Archer envisions a growth organization with community centers in multiple cities similar to the Police Athletic League, “where we can take in kids, make sure they are doing their homework, making sure they are getting fed a good meal, making sure they are physically active.”

Archer, with the security of a six-year, $25.5 million contract, said he realizes he has so much more to learn, off and on the field, and that the progression can be, hopefully, interrelated. He just wants to get to it.

“I’m not perfect by any means,” he said. “But I try to be a positive influence and make good decisions and be morally sound. And that’s kind of like ‘the Archer way.”

“The thought of positively impacting as many lives, that’s my thought. I didn’t read that in a book. I read in a book to find what your purpose is. I found that to be my purpose.”

Marc Topkin – Tampa Bay Time

Posted March 28, 2015

Rays’ Archer reports on kids and baseball

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Rays’ Archer reports on kids and baseball

Chris Archer

St. Petersburg, Florida — Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer has been pitching with the Rays since 2012. The 26-year-old started playing baseball in high school, and even then he made sure he played other sports.

But these days too many kids in baseball only play baseball and play it too long, so the ace pitcher decided he needed to get an important message out: parents, grandparents and coaches need to look out for kids and not let them overuse their bodies.

So Archer decided to put down his glove for a few days and picked up the microphone and played the role of 10 News reporter for a day.

Archer turned a story for 10 News about kids overusing their arm as pitchers, playing too long throughout the year, and throwing too many pitches.

In Florida, kids can play ball year-round. Between the warm weather and the recent boom of travel ball, some kids are playing 10-12 months out of the year. Archer and other major league players don’t even play that long.

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer became a 10 News reporter for a day. Check out the behind-the scenes video!

Archer interviewed the Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield about the importance of building strength and resting your body as a child. Porterfield and Archer also demonstrated a few techniques young athletes in all positions can use to strengthen their arms.

Archer also interviewed Jason Riley, director of sports performance at Performance Compound, who explained the importance or all ages warming up, building core strength and playing a variety of sports.

The bottom line is kids should not be playing more than those in the MLB — especially pitchers.

Melissa Rancourt – WTSP

Posted Feb 24, 2015