Desert heat effects extended spring camps

Desert heat effects extended spring camps

Desert heat effects extended spring camps
The heat is on in extended spring in Arizona.

Literally.

With temperatures regularly above 100 degrees for workouts and expected to reach at least 110 in the next few weeks, the toasty weather is a factor for players honing their skills in the Valley of the Sun.

It's not uncommon for temperatures to reach 115 degrees in the Phoenix area during the summer, and the heat is part of the reason clubs begin extended spring workouts before 7 a.m. and play games at 10:30 a.m. A few teams play their games at night under the lights to keep their players out of the sun.

"It's a challenge for these guys and we try to do things to make it more sustainable, but don't want it to be a focus," said Bobby Evans, San Francisco's vice president of baseball operations. "We want the focus to be on learning what to do and not getting too caught up in the weather. The East Coast can be humid, the Northwest is rainy and the Bay Area has cooler weather sometimes, but this game needs you to adjust. Playing through a hotter climate is one of many tests they will face in their careers."

Evans called extended spring a rite of passage and recalls that even Giants reliever Sergio Romo had to "battle his way out of there."

"These guys are living the dream but having to pass through tough waters," Evans said. "You have to think long and hard about it, because it's such a tough environment. Some players are disappointed to be there but they still go out and make the most of it. The good news is that our coaches do a great job of keeping it loose and challenging them."

Evans said he has received good reports on right-handed power pitcher Joan Gregorio, who is ranked No. 12 in San Francisco's Minor League system. Gregorio led the Arizona Rookie League with a 2.32 ERA last year.

"As we get closer to Draft time, we'll start to put guys on clubs," Evans said. "He slots in pretty well in [Class A short season] Salem."

One player still noticeable by his absence from Giants camp in Scottsdale is first baseman Angel Villalona. The slugger, who was stripped of his U.S. visa not long after he was charged in the death of a man in the Dominican Republic in 2009, is working out at the club's complex in the D.R. He was cleared of homicide charges but has not been issued a visa.

"It's an issue with a consulate. We are working on their time frame," Evans said. "It's hard when you are not playing in games and facing competition, but he has made the most of the situation. It's not ideal, but he's made the most of it."