Jamie Burke has caught hundreds of pitchers over the years, and 10 in the last four days in Mariners camp.
A thoughtful, studious fellow – all good catchers are – Burke watches every pitcher with a keen eye. So how are the Marines pitchers looking through two bullpen sessions each?
"You don't evaluate guys throwing in the bullpen," Burke said. "You try to learn their mechanics, their body language."
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"Throwing in the bullpen, they're relaxed, so you want to know what they look like relaxed," Burke said. "That way in a game, if their body language changes, you know they're tight and you deal with that.
"Until games start, you can't evaluate pitchers. Throwing strikes in a bullpen, breaking off your pitches, that's fine. But what you need to know is how guys throw with a hitter standing up there. That's when you see what a pitchers can do."
The bullpens, of course, are necessary. It's what gets pitchers in game-shape, helps them work on everything from mechanics to new pitches.
What they do in games is what managers, coaches – and catchers – judge them by.