Shagging fly balls part of routine for D-backs

Shagging fly balls part of routine for D-backs

Shagging fly balls part of routine for D-backs
NEW YORK -- Pitchers shagging fly balls during batting practice has become a hot topic over the last 24 hours after the season-ending injury sustained by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera during BP on Thursday in Kansas City.

Reliever Brad Ziegler is one of many D-backs pitchers who enjoy shagging fly balls, and he does not plan on changing his routine.

"A lot of guys use that for conditioning," Ziegler said. "A lot of guys just enjoy being active. I will say this, it's harder on my body to stand and do nothing than it is to run around for 45 minutes. I get stiff when I'm just standing around. It's really unfortunate that it happened to him, but you can't walk on egg shells and worry about every single movement that we make."

D-backs ace Ian Kennedy, who is not a fan of shagging during batting practice, was a teammate of Rivera's with the Yankees and remembers watching him in action.

"Center field was his and he would just do the power shagging," Kennedy said. "That was his conditioning. He did it every single day. I don't think he ever took a day off from it. It stinks that it happened like that."

While D-backs manager Kirk Gibson encourages his players to not be reckless during BP, he pointed out that Rivera was not being careless and was doing what he had done for 20 years.

"It's a fluke accident," Gibson said.

D-backs closer J.J. Putz, who called Rivera one of the best pitchers of all time, said his routine will remain the same.

"I don't think it's going to change the way we go out and shag," he said. "Somebody's got to pick up the balls, and that's what pitchers do best, I guess," Putz said. "We're out there pretty much every day shagging, power shagging, running after balls. From what I saw, it just looked like he got caught coming down on the grass where it meets the dirt. It's just a freak injury. It would be unfortunate for anybody."

Of course, not all pitchers would be upset if teams found a different method of collecting the baseballs.

"I hate shagging," Kennedy said. "I do it. It doesn't mean I enjoy it."