We asked San Diego
Padres Left Fielder Rickey Henderson
to give you some tips on becoming a better left fielder.
San Diego Padres
What is the proper technique for catching a pop-fly?
Rickey Henderson: I think the biggest technique is
basically, get your body under the ball and really try to
catch the ball with two hands. (Position yourself) behind the
ball as the ball comes down.
When a ball is hit into the leftfield gap, how do you
decide which player will catch the ball?
Henderson: (It depends on) which player gets there
first, and the trail player is supposed to let him know where
to throw the ball. With the ball in the gap, both players go
to the ball and whichever (player) the ball is closer to,
that's the one who covers the ball.
Is there a special technique to getting a good jump on
Henderson: Reading the pitches, trying to figure out
how your players are positioned to the hitter, and then trying
to read the ball off the bat. Just paying attention to the
hitter. Before the game they tell you which way the hitters
(tend to hit) the ball -- in the gap or if he's a pull hitter.
So you line yourself up to that position.
How do you field fly balls near the warning track and
the outfield fence?
Henderson: I think you've got to prepare yourself,
but the warning track is usually the dirt part of the field,
and once you get off the grass and you feel the dirt that's
when you know you've got about two or three steps before you
get to the wall.
How do you know when to throw home, and when to throw to
the cutoff guy?
Henderson: The basic thing is throwing to the cutoff
man, but you're really trying to throw through the
cutoff man. You're throwing to the cutoff man, just in
case he wants to cut the ball.