Can you throw 65-mph meatballs from the left side and promise not to hit Rhys Hoskins on the elbow?
The Phillies might have a job for you.
Just before opening day, the team embarked on a social-media campaign looking for a left-handed pitcher to throw batting practice before home games.
The job is still open.
“It’s kind of fallen off the radar,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’ll get back to that. A lot of our guys like to see left-handed BP.”
It’s not unusual for teams to seek BP pitchers. But usually it's done with a phone call to local colleges or former professional players. Kapler said the team went the social-media route — he appears in a video seeking a lefty BP pitcher — because, “I think it’s kind of a cool way to search for somebody who might be able to contribute to the culture and throw good BP.”
So far, the team has received a lot of videos from candidates, but no one has been invited in for a tryout.
“I’ve seen a couple of them,” Kapler said. “There are some videos that are really entertaining.”
Pitching batting practice is not easy. Firm strikes are a requirement and that’s not easy. Even accomplished players can have trouble grooving a pitch to a multi-million-dollar star. Get the yips and you won’t throw strikes. You might even land a hitter on the disabled list. And then you’ll be fired.
“It’s so hard,” Kapler said. “I have a hard time with it. I can throw hard, firm BP, but when I try to lay it in there and make our guys really comfortable — it’s hard, it’s a skill. It takes a lot of work.”
Members of the coaching staff regularly throw BP. Former pitching coach Bob McClure, a lefty, used to throw to starting players on the nights the Phillies would face a lefty starter. He now works in the Minnesota Twins organization.
“Some guys want it on days they start,” Kapler said. “I was a right-handed hitter. My job was to hit left-handed pitching. It was nice to see a left-handed BP pitcher on those days. Did it help? I don’t know. It was a comfort thing and we’re trying to pay attention to the comfort of our guys.”
So send those videos.