LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – At least seven Braves position players reported to spring training early and worked out informally Tuesday on reporting day for pitchers and catchers. Anyone who knows Ron Washington won’t be surprised that the Braves’ new third-base coach and infield instructor was on the field at 8 a.m., hitting ground ball after ground ball to four of those early arrivers.
Braves second-base prospect Ozzie Albies wasn’t among that group, but saw Washington in the dugout later and said he wanted to take grounders with them Wednesday. He asked what time he needed to be on the field.
Washington replied, “7:30.” And after Albies said OK and walked away, Washington said something to reporters about working hard at that early hour. “They’re not used to this (stuff),” he said, smiling.
At 64, the former major league infielder, longtime former Oakland Athletics coach and former Rangers manager still loves getting out and sweating with the players, and he seemed as fired up Tuesday as anyone in Braves gear. He was hired as third-base coach in October after interviewing for the managerial job.
“It’s amazing the calls from coaches and former players who played with him, friends of mine — all I hear is, you’re going to love this guy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “And I can tell; he’s a baseball rat. He just wants to get on that field and work. Everything that everybody has told me — you’re not going to out-work that guy and you’re probably not going to get out here any earlier than him.
“He has his programs and I think it will be very beneficial for our infielders, that day-in and day-out hands on approach that he begins.”
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