It’s a good thing Julio Mateo can pitch.
If a week of defensive drills for pitchers has proven anything, it’s that Mateo is not an adept fielder – an assessment he grudgingly acknowledges.
"When the ball is moving, I have a little trouble," Mateo admitted. "It’s not like I’m not trying."
Mateo works with coaches daily on his defense, yet ground balls still elude him, and he tends to bend and reach rather than get in front of the ball. In the line drive drill pitchers go through every few days – the Mariners use soft cloth balls in that drill – Mateo is the most likely pitcher to get hit.
"That’s one of the reasons we repeat these drills," pitching coach Rafael Chaves said. "Repetition makes you better. Julio works hard.”