Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taking a Rod to the Pitchers New Catcher Barajas Brings Experience and Pitch-Calling Savvy to a Staff That, for the Most Part, Is Still Finding Its Way in the Majors Pirates Spring Training: 42 Days until Opening Day

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Taking a Rod to the Pitchers New Catcher Barajas Brings Experience and Pitch-Calling Savvy to a Staff That, for the Most Part, Is Still Finding Its Way in the Majors Pirates Spring Training: 42 Days until Opening Day

Article excerpt

BRADENTON, Fla. --

When the Pirates signed catcher Rod Barajas in the offseason, the organization's pitchers did some research.

They talked to others who played with him, and all came away with a similar impression: He possesses great skill in handling a pitching staff. No surprise, considering how he learned to do so.

"I think the biggest influence on my preparation, game-calling, getting to know hitters, was probably from Curt Schilling," Barajas said.

Barajas and Schilling, the 20-year veteran and six-time All-Star selection, played for the Arizona Diamondbacks together from 2000- 03 and won the World Series in '01.

"When the games would be going on, he'd be up there and I'd be sitting next to him," Barajas said Wednesday. "He'd call me, say, 'Hey, come over here and sit next to me.' So we'd sit here and we'd talk baseball and we'd go over pitch-calling and how to set guys up and how to deal with certain pitchers and emotions.

"He really set the groundwork for me. Ever since I got all that information from him, I've been able to make it my own and help work with pitchers."

Barajas appeared in two games in that series and started Game 5 in place of Damian Miller. He went 2 for 5 with a home run off New York Yankees starter Mike Mussina.

Forming a battery with Schilling, he said, helped him learn to read and react to his pitchers.

"When he was on the mound, he was focused," Barajas said. "Seeing a guy that intense and able to take control of his emotions in these big games definitely made you open your eyes a little bit. You're like, wow, this guy, he knows what he needs to do to be successful. [After] watching him, I can see different emotions out of players, when guys are too high, too low. I'll try to right them and get them going in the right direction."

Entering the 14th season of his career, the 36-year-old Barajas said the lessons stuck.

"You're going to have days where you strike out two or three times, but you can't show that emotion, even in the dugout after you strike out, because the last thing you want is pitchers thinking that your mind's not there or you're not focused on your job behind the plate," he said.

Barajas signed a one-year, $4 million contract with a $3.5 million club option for 2013. He will replace Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, whose options the Pirates declined to exercise after the '11 season. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.