New conditioning drill after morning stretch, with everyone – pitchers, catchers, position players – told to line up along the first base line, then run hard from first base to third base.
Mike Sweeney stepped forward to lead the charge but was called back by Ken Griffey Jr., who then lit out for third base, setting a quick base as he rounded second and made coach Lee Tinsley jump back.
The drill wasn’t easy. First to third base, walk across the diamond and repeat – three times the team made the run, and each time it was Griffey who led the run.
On the final lap, Ichiro started a few players behind Griffey and managed to catch him just as they reached third base, with both men laughing most of the way.
A year ago, on a knee that was never quite right, Griffey rarely ran. This spring, he’s leading the drills. The players have noticed, and today everyone running behind Junior ran hard.
It’s one of the reasons he’s back. Hard work, believe it or not, is one of the reasons Griffey is a Hall of Fame player.