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Thursday, February 24, 2011
Intrasquad: CJ Wilson sick, but pitches well

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- C.J. Wilson clearly didn't feel well Thursday.

"He sounded like he was under water," said pitching coach Mike Maddux, who thought it was a bronchial infection.

But Wilson's pitches louldly reminded everyone that he's getting in shape for the season. He got Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton in order in the first inning and didn't allow any of them to hit a ball out of the infield. He threw his fastball, a few cutters and some changeups and was hitting 91-92 mph on one of the radar guns. He threw 14 pitches, nine of them strikes.

"He's going to stay on schedule," Maddux said. "He's not going to give up a chance to compete."

Other notes:

* OF Chad Tracy was the offensive hero of the game. He hit a solo homer of Yoshinori Tateyama, which meant Tracy was asked some questions by some of the Japanese media in town to cover Tateyama. He also had a double. It was a good showing for Tracy, who strained his left oblique in July and missed the rest of the season when he pulled a rib cage muscle rehabbing in Arizona.

"Tateyama has good secondary stuff and I was trying to get a fastball early in the count that I could drive," said Tracy when asked about the homer.

* C Matt Treanor was impressed with Tanner Scheppers' breaking stuff, which he was working on during his inning of work Thursday. But Scheppers' command wasn't consistent and he got some balls up in the strike zone. A throwing error didn't help his inning, either. Maddux did like the way Scheppers battled back after giving up some hits to start his inning. "When he's done in the zone, he's as good as anybody," Maddux said. Scheppers touched 95 mph, but was throwing mainly at 92 mph.

* OF Josh Hamilton had trouble with a fly ball in left field (it looked like he lost it in the sun). It is not easy to catch fly balls with a big Arizona sky. Hamilton, by the way, hit the ground on the play but was fine. One scout in attendance told me: Don't judge an outfielder's defensive ability in Arizona in February.

* RHP Cody Eppley continues to work on his submarine delivery. "He has good sink and a good breaking ball," Maddux said. "Delivery-wise, I like it."

* SS Elvis Andrus made the defensive play of the game, diving toward the second base bag on a sharp ground ball, scooping it with his glove and tossing it from his glove to second baseman Ian Kinsler to start a double play.