Toronto's Norris does mind extended hours

Toronto's Norris does mind extended hours

Toronto's Norris does mind extended hours
Part of being young, some might even claim it should be a part of the definition, is to want to rush things, to get there before being ready.

That easily could have been the case for Blue Jays lefty prospect Daniel Norris. A second-round Draft pick a year ago who received an over-slot deal to sign, it wouldn't have surprised anyone had Norris been unhappy about not going to full-season Lansing to start the year.

Yet that's what's impressive about the pitcher considered to be the top prep lefty in the 2011 Draft class. He seems to get that sometimes you need to walk before you can run and in terms of pro baseball, the Blue Jays' No. 5 prospect knew he wasn't even crawling.

"Going into it, a lot of guys say extended stinks, it's just a grind," Norris said. "I was going into it expecting it not to be fun. But I'm having a blast. I'm blessed to wake up and play baseball every day. The days get long, but when you're playing baseball ... I much rather be doing this than anything else."

Norris has been working hard at retooling his delivery. The 19-year-old joked that people who saw him in high school, including his parents, wouldn't even recognize him on the mound now.

"I'm completely different," Norris said. "I feel so much better about that. Being able to repeat and stay on top of the baseball with a downward plane [is important]."

Even if Norris found extended spring to be too much of a grind, he could at least say that misery loves company. Several other young pitchers are there with Norris, toiling away in relative anonymity. No. 12 prospect Joe Musgrove and No. 15 Kevin Comer were both high school arms taken in the sandwich round a year ago. The trio seem to be reaping the benefits of going through this together.

"We pick each other's brains, being able to talk to them and see what they're going through is great," Norris said. "Comer and I are roommates. We're really close. Musgrove's a good guy, too. We talk about our outings, what we're going through."

Eventually, they would like to go through some real games. As much as Norris is enjoying his time in extended camp, the competitor in him is ready to get things going. He's clearly not obsessing over it, but he admitted it's crossed his mind a time or two this spring.

"Absolutely. I'd be lying to you if I wasn't [thinking about it]," Norris said. "I just want to play for something. One-hundred percent, I understand why I'm here. I know this is where I'm supposed to be, but I want to be playing for a championship. But we're young and getting acclimated to pro ball, and I feel like I've made a huge jump in my delivery."