Team workouts officially began last week marking the beginning of Spring Training. Team practice begins around 9:00 AM everyday and goes for about three to four hours. This is where we start putting more time towards team activities such as bunt defense, 1st and 3rd defense, cutoffs and relays, and PFP's. (Pitcher's fielding practice) It is also the time when hitters begin hitting live against pitchers. As a hitter you can hit all the batting practice you want, but hitting live pitching is a totally different ball game. If you really want to see where you stand as far as being ready for the first Spring Training game, you need to step into live BP.
It takes you a few at-bats against live pitching before your body and eyes get adjusted to seeing, and more importantly, hitting a 90+ mph fastball. The first day I face live pitching I don't swing at many pitches, but instead use that day to "track" balls. All this means is your seeing baseballs, letting your eyes get familiar with release points, judging locations of pitches, and picking up "spin". Usually on your first day, 90 mph pitches look more like 100 mph pitches.
The next day I will start swinging more than the previous day. You can see as many pitched baseballs as you want, but you really start getting feedback when you begin swinging at some. The first few pitches I saw on Saturday I was a little late on, fouling some of them off or hitting them down the right field line, but after a few swings I started getting adjusted to the speed of live pitching again. After a few days of going through live batting practice you start to slowly feel like you've been playing baseball all winter long. Within the next few days I'll feel ready to jump in to our first game on March 4.
By the way, Avatar was a pretty sick movie. I wish I could have kept the glasses though.