Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kendall a Hidden Gem?

Top A's newcomer? Don't forget Kendall / Catcher showing signs of making up for 2005

[Gerald] Perry, who was also Kendall's hitting coach at Pittsburgh, has been working with Kendall on staying short to the ball and standing back better -- Perry believes Kendall was rushing everything last year, which is the same problem Kendall had throwing the ball in 2005.

Kendall spent the winter working hard on his throwing, which was a problem area last year, and he has looked much improved, nailing a couple of would-be base stealers this spring. Manager Ken Macha called one of Kendall's throws this spring the best he's seen him make.

"Every part of his game looks better,'' said bench coach Bob Geren, who works closely with the catchers. "His arm strength, his footwork, his timing -- it just seems like everything is clicking. And offensively, he looks like he's going to have a great year.''

Two things here. (1) I don't think anyone's counting on Kendall improving much from last year. Any improvements could really help the A's separate themselves from the Angels. (2) I've heard nothing but good things about Perry as the new hitting coach - and it's not plattitudes from the players that have me excited. It just sounds like he knows what he's doing. I don't know whether he does or not, but the idea that he's "working with Kendall on staying short to the ball and standing back better" just makes me feel better.

Have I mentioned this yet: I'm feeling good about 2006.

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