Suzuki getting most out of his arm
Oakland catcher working with Wakamatsu and Geren
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki threw a laser to second base, beating Rangers baserunner Ian Kinsler by several feet as Kinsler attempted to steal the base. Kinsler, however, danced around the tag and was ruled safe."He probably threw harder to second base in the first inning than I threw to home," A's pitcher Justin Duchscherer said. There has never been a question about Suzuki's arm, but in Spring Training he is being tutored by A's bench coach Don Wakamatsu, a former catcher. "I've always been able to throw, but I really haven't understood the mechanics of throwing," Suzuki said. "I really haven't understood how to get the most out of me, and ever since Don Wakamatsu arrived, from Day 1, he did pretty much a total makeover. "I felt like I was good, but I knew I had to get better. He just gave me little tips on how to improve my positioning to get the best out of myself. I'm a work in progress right now. I feel like I'm getting better every day. I take a lot of pride in all my defense -- throwing out runners, receiving, blocking, handling pitchers. "It's a funny thing. It's not how good your arm strength is. You have to have arm strength, but it's getting the most out of your arm and being quick. That's what we're really working on right now, is being quick on the transfer and not so much using my arm strength. "In 162 games in a year, if you're using all your arm in every game you catch, you might not be able to last long. It is [about] being quicker and being accurate and not using all arm -- but using your lower half, and you get a good carry on the ball." Suzuki said he is fortunate to have Wakamatsu and manager Bob Geren, another former catcher, working with him. "That's years and years of information," Suzuki said. "It's just been awesome with all this information and learning. It's just the little things that I've been lucky enough to have the instruction."
Duchscherer, making his third Cactus League appearance, gave up four runs on six hits over four innings in a no-decision in the A's 11-6 loss to the Rangers. He struck out four and walked two."I honestly felt like I consistently hit the spots I wanted to hit," Duchscherer said. "My arm feels good and my hip feels good. I don't like giving up runs like that." He threw 71 pitches in the game and another 10 in the bullpen. "Justin pitched a lot better than his numbers would indicate," Geren said. Daric Burton hit a three-run homer and has scored at least one run in each of his past seven spring games.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.