Finally the weather has cooled and the temperature here is perfect. Now i am starting to see why people move here for the winter. It almost reminds me of being home in San Diego…almost. For whatever reason, the cooler temps have caused the games to move along at a quicker pace and the play of our team has improved. We are now 7-5 and tied with the Surprise Rafters for first place in the West Division. This past week we had a couple night games which was a nice change from the many day games we’ve been playing so far. The night games have been great because they allowed us to sleep in a couple of times and puts us back on our normal pattern from the regular season. The only problem with that, is most the time a day game follows a night game so we end up going to sleep late and then waking up early ready to play again. But even with the short sleep, the night games have been worth it and I definitely look forward to more of them.
So far, I have gotten into a rough start off the the field down here in Arizona. As if getting a flat tire wasn’t enough last week, this week I got strep throat and was out a few days. I am pretty sure i got it from a few other teammates that had it right before me. It was just one of those things that sometimes go through the clubhouse and I was unfortunate enough to have a locker right next to one of the first guys to come down with it. Because of my illness, my weekend was me being a bum. For 3 days straight i was on the couch either watching football games during our games or movies at night. I managed to go through 6 movies including one of my favorites, Shawshank Redemption. I was able to do one productive thing this weekend as my roommate had his wife in town for their anniversary so i volunteered to be their chauffer to and from dinner just so i could get out of the house and do something. I wanted to wear a suit and the little hat that chauffers wear but my roommate wouldn’t let me…probably for the best. As of today I am feeling a lot better…still a little light headed and all but I am still scheduled to make my next start on Wednesday. As long as I continue to throw strikes and avoid the long ball, I should be able to improve on my first two starts.
As for some of the questions I was asked last week. I am a power sink pitcher that works in the 88-92 mph range with my fastball for the most part. I also throw a curve, slider and change-up. My out pitch changes with the day because on certain days some of my pitches work better than others, so thats something ill usually figure out in the bullpen before the game and see what I have a good feel for. One of the big things im working on down here in Arizona is fastball command and with that comes repeating my arm slot on every pitch. Sometimes I tend to vary my arm path so in the AFL, I’m just trying to be more consistent with it. One other thing that i am working on is my change-up. I need to develop that pitch into a pitch that i can throw at anytime to keep hitters from jumping on my fastball and at this time right now I just dont feel comfortable enough to throw it in any count. Everyone out here is always trying to get better and working on things, so you are always talking to roommates, teammates from other organizations and coaches about new pitches, new grips and anything else that may help you and take you to that next level.
The other four pitchers out here for the Brewers are Mark Rogers, Omar Aguilar, Zach Braddock, and Rob Wooten.
Well thats it for this week. Keep tuning in for more updates and keep the questions coming, ill be happy to answer.
My name is Josh Butler and I am a pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, currently playing for the Peoria Javalinas in the Arizona Fall League. I am a native of San Diego, CA and went to college at nearby University of San Diego where I was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006. 2009 was my second season with the Brewers as I was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays last year involving Gabe Gross. Being traded was a crazy experience since I was in High A at the time and playing the affiliate of the Brewers, so i pretty much just switched locker rooms about 30 minutes before the game. I’ve really enjoyed being with the Brewers as I have made a ton of new friends throughout the entire organization…what I mean by that is I’ve played for five different teams this year alone and that’s a lot of clubhouses for one season. Let me take you on my journey…I started the year in High A Brevard County (Florida State League) then got promoted to AAA Nashville (Pacific Coast League) for three starts before being sent down to AA Huntsville (Southern League). Unfortunately while I was in AA, I became injured and had to go to Arizona to rehab for a month where i made a few starts for the rookie ball team. Once i was finally healthy, I headed back to Huntsville. The season ended with a surprise call up to Milwaukee for two weeks which was a dream come true and will only make me work harder to get back there next year. So needless to say, this has been a hectic year and I’ve definitely put a few miles on my car.
The Arizona Fall League started last Tuesday and so far we are 4-2, winning our last 4 games and the experience has been great. Its cool to get to know some of the guys that you’ve been playing against for the last few years in pro ball or in college. Our team gets along really well and its a great group of guys. There are so many different personalities that its always entertaining in the clubhouse.
I have pitched one time so far and there was a little rust, but its always nice to get the first outing out of the way and then move forward from there. My next start will be on Thursday and I cant wait to get back out there and improve on my last outing. The games have been entertaining, albeit at a lot of the pitchers’ expense as they have been high scoring to say the least.
There are 8 Brewers out here in total, 3 being position players and the other 5 being pitchers. One of them, Rob Wooten, is my roommate in an apartment that we are renting in Scottsdale for the 2 months we’re out here. Its an amazing area with so many good restaurants to choose from and since we play mostly day games, there are plenty of nights to try them all out. So far my favorite restaurant was a sushi place called Sapporo – probably the best sushi Ive ever had.
Arizona has been a great experience except that it really needs to stop being over 100 degrees…I mean, it is the middle of October! The only other bad thing that I’ve experienced out here is getting a flat tire on my way to our second game. Rob and I ended up missing the bus and more importantly the game, but luckily our coaches understood that things like that happen every now and then, so it was no big deal. But now I have four new tires just to make sure that doesn’t happen again. In my free time I have gone golfing a few times, which has been an ugly sight, but for the most part I’ve just been hanging out with my teammates. I’m not used to waking up so early so it’s been an adjustment.
The next month of baseball should be a great time and a great experience. Ill try to get on here as often as I can and update you on whats going on but if you have any questions dont be afraid to ask.
Until next time!