THE ROAD TO
Gold Coast, Australia The beginning of the end starts now. The Senior National Team is at the National Training Complex for the Australian National Baseball Team for an exhibition series against the Aussies in preparation for the Final Olympic Qualifier in Taiwan from March 7-15.
The weather has not been completely cooperative so far with drizzles in the area and the forecast calling for rain for the next few days, but that will not stop the Canadians who held their first full team practice today.
The players not only have to get ready for the upcoming tournament, but they also have the task of getting into game shape. Most of the players have not touched a ball or have swung a bat since the end of last season. This doubles the challenge on the Canadians, something the coaching staff and the players are well aware and are ready to face.
“We have some of the best players out of Canada here,” says Senior National Team Manager Terry Puhl. “They know their talent and it's a matter of letting their talent come through and see where it takes us.”
The process of getting into game shape is a little trickier with the pitchers as the staff will need to monitor them in order not to extend their arms too quickly.
“It’s a tough situation with the timing of (the qualifier), but alot of the guys have been throwing sides and batting practices already with their clubs so it makes things a little easier,” says Pitching Coach Denis Boucher.
“We’re going to keep a close eye on (the pitchers) and we'll start the exhibition games by limiting them to a couple innings a piece and then move on up to five innings if we can in the next few weeks.”
So far, the process to get the players into game shape has been going smoothly, but the trick is to get them ready a bit of a quicker pace.
“We’re going to do as much as we can and as much as they want and we’re going to take care of them as much as possible," says Coach Rob Ducey.
One thing is for certain. The goal at the end of this trip is to qualify for the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing and Canada will certainly be ready for that.
Baseball Canada 27 February 2008