Triston Casas explains his unique approach to DHing
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Triston Casas is unique. That much we already knew.
But what he might bringing to the designated hitter position offers next-level originality.
With the Red Sox warming up on the CoolToday Field Monday for the bottom of the sixth inning against the Braves, the field was littered with one more player wearing a red and white uniform than normal. That was Casas.
The DH had ventured into shallow left field to execute a series of exercises in between the outfielders and infielders.
Sprints. Stretches. Leads. They were all part of the out-of-nowhere appearance.
So, what was going on? Talking to WEEI.com Tuesday, Casas explained what he was up to.
"I just want to make sure I'm warmed up heading into my at-bat," he said.
"The most important thing was that I found a place where I wouldn't interfere with anybody warming up. The cut of the grass would not be OK, and too far in the outfield might mess up the outfielders. I felt like it was the perfect line where you could get your work in, warm up, do a couple of sprints in between the at-bats so I don't feel the first time I step on my field is my at-bat. I want to feel integrated in the game. I am one of the nine positions, so going out with my team was something I didn't think would rub anybody the wrong way."
As for the order of events that go into the short window of exercise, Casas explained, "I have a warm-up that I do before every game when I play first base. I just divide that warm-up into five and I go do it little by little in between every at-bat instead of doing it all before the game."
It was the first time Casas executed such a strategy, but not the last. Yes, this seems something like he will be carrying into the regular season.
Welcome to the new world of living life as a DH.
"Right before the game," he said when asked when the plan was hatched. "I have been trying to find ways to stay warm as a DH. That's a relatively new position to me. I feel like the majority of my time in the minor leagues has been at first base. I developed a good routine at first, but DHing is a really hard position. It's something where you definitely need a routine. I don't like to feel like it's four pinch-hit at-bats, or five. I just want to feel like I'm in the game and integrated with the team somehow. Getting warmed up on the field with them is something I think was probably a good idea and I'm probably going to keep doing it if I DH. There's not a lot of space behind the scenes to open up and get sprints in. I just thought it was a good spot to go out and run a little bit.
"I didn't run it by anybody. I feel like anything, they would encourage it. Watching me do sprints is an encouraging sign. ... I didn't check in with anybody. Nobody said anything to me after."
He added, "I liked the way it felt in my at-bats. Unless somebody tells me different, I'm going to keep doing it."