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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Press conference takeaways: Baseball edition

Photo by Cameron Johnson

Head coach Jim Schlossnagle in the A&M dugout on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park during A&M’s game against Sam Houston on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022.

Following its performance in Omaha, Neb. at the College World Series in 2022, Texas A&M baseball is heading into its next season with its first series on Feb. 17-19 against Seattle University. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the program hosted its final press conference before the start of the season with senior outfielder Brett Minnich, junior pitcher Wyatt Tucker and head coach Jim Schlossnagle.
Here’s what we learned:
Aggies are adapting to the new pace of play rules
This season, the SEC announced rule changes to assist with the pace of play for baseball. These changes included a between-batters clock, limiting the time between batter changes to 30 seconds and a pitch clock, a 30 second timer in between each pitch thrown. Now, the Aggie players on the field will be wearing electronic bands that will notify them of the pitch before it happens.
“We are using the electronic system to get the pitches, so right now, on defense, our pitches are moving at record pace, which puts pressure on the hitter to get ready,” Schlossnagle said.
Tucker said the new pitcher’s clock favors the pitching staff, mainly in the control of the pace and how it lets them get into “a roll.” Schlossnagle said he enjoys how the rules no longer permit more than one “step-off,” so players are forced to commit to plays and have more confidence in their abilities. Schlossnagle also said pitching coach Nate Yeskie said he prefers the new system with the electronic bands, along with the traditional earpiece with the catcher.
However, preparation for the changes in play can only go so far when there are other factors involved in how it is implemented, Schlossnagle said.
“A lot of it depends on the umpire,” Schlossnagle said. “Because it’s a 20 second clock, the hitter has to be ready in 10 seconds … The first 10 seconds are for the hitter. So, if the pitcher is ready to go at 16 and he starts and the hitter is not ready, the umpire has to slow him down. What we have seen, in practice at least, sometimes umpires are trying to get the game over with too and so it’s going to be an interesting little battle.”
Schlossnagle and the team are ready to return to play
The maroon and white faced obstacles last season with a new head coach and a mostly new team, but overcame their hurdles to make it deep into the College World Series. This season, the Aggies are ranked No. 5 and have a plethora of players ranked on charts across the nation.
“It is the complete opposite of last year,” Tucker said. “I feel like we handled that really well and we’re taking the same mind set of playing to a standardized scoreboard, but knowing that we’re expected to win, we’re expected to play the way that we’re supposed to and if we play that way we should succeed.”
Since its time in Omaha, A&M has pulled in players to replace the standouts from the previous season like outfielder Dylan Rock, pitcher Micah Dallas and catcher Troy Claunch, who graduated in 2022. Now, the Fightin’ Farmers seemingly have a rotation of potential at every position with new finds like freshman outfielder Jace LaViolette and Purdue transfer sophomore pitcher Troy Wansing.
“[I’m] super excited [for game week],” Tucker said. “This team has shown a bunch of potential. We haven’t figured everything out yet, but whatever we do, I’m really excited for. There are so many spots that are filled with multiple positions. So, I’m looking forward to that and finding our true identity.”
Minnich is back from injury and ready to take the field
Minnich was one of the only players in the 2022 season to play in all 64 games. He ended the season batting .306 with six home runs. Overall, Minnich had 15 doubles, 51 RBIs and 52 runs scored. Despite his appearance as a starter in every game, Minnich had a groin injury that almost kept him from the field.
“It was hard to run, to maneuver, by the end of the year it started getting tougher to swing a little bit with the groin area and how you have to twist,” Minnich said. “But there’s no excuses for that. You’ve just got to play through it because everyone has stuff going on.”
Minnich said that heading into the new season and the first series of games, he feels back at 100%. Following the conclusion of the season, Minnich had surgery to fix the injury. He said he also has taken other steps to ensure his physical health.
“Since I did have surgery, it was pretty easy for me to take a reflection and see what I needed to do to change my body for this upcoming year and a lot of that was gaining weight,” Minnich said. “So, I gained close to 25 pounds of weight for this year and so I’ve been hoping to keep that … Nutrition is a big thing. That’s something I’ve kind of honed in on. Eating a lot and eating the right things so it’s not bad weight.”

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