The Michigan Daly-Sports Monday-April 1,1991 - Page5
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by Rod Loewenthal
Daily Baseball Writer . . £.
'M' searches for
final cog in rotation
Or maybe it was clank!
The ball hits the aluminum bat
of catcher Joe Mooney and is sent
scampering across the infield to-
ward third base.
"Keep your head down
Mooney," the lanky man on the
mound yells. It's Joe Mooney's
turn in the cage for batting practice
and pitching coach Ace Adams is
giving the senior catcher some
On the next pitch Adams sends
a floater down the middle of the
plate and the eager Mooney jumps
on it, crushing the ball to deep left-
"Do you see the difference,"
Adams asks with tongue firmly
implanted in cheek?
Mooney and the rest of the
Michigan baseball team can only.
wish that hitting were that simple.
Ed Turek, Michigan's hitting coach,
knows that this just isn't the case.
Turek has been working with the
Michigan players this year, trying
to change their success without
drastically altering the players'
"Different hitters have
different strengths," Turek said.
"You can't make them hit the same
way - so what we try to do is
work with their strengths."
Hitting involves a mental
aspect that some say comprises at
least 50 percent of the overall
hitting process. This mental
component has been missing in the
instruction of Michigan hitters.
Turek hopes to change that. Turek
- working toward a masters
degree in sports psychology - is
Hitting is a pure science to the Michigan baseball squad. One Wolverine batting scholar puts some of hitting
coach Ed Turek's advice into practice in a game against Western Michigan.
Michigan's hitting shrink.
But what exactly is the mental
aspect of hitting? Turek and the
rest of the Michigan staff-
primarily focus on trying to teach
the players to be relaxed and
confident when they step up to the
In addition to being relaxed
Turek says that he teaches the play-
ers to go up to bat looking for a
particular pitch or for a pitch in a
"I look for balls in a particular
spot," outfielder Steve Buerkel
said. "I'm more or less a table-
setter. I don't go up there thinkiig
to hit for power or average."
With the amount of variation in
the team's hitting styles, whit
does Turek do that can apply to
"Every hitter is different but
there are three basic components
that I've learned through the
staff," Turek said.
"You've got to keep your
weight back, or you can think of it
as having to go back before you go
forward," Turek said. "And you've
got to keep your eye on the ball. It
sounds so easy, but it makes such a
Through Michigan's 16 game s
this season the team is hitting a
combined .273. The squad h is
plenty of experience which migit
explain some of their hitting
success of late.
"It gets back to that mental
side," Turek said. "They've been
there before, they know what it's
like, and they've seen different
The leading hitter on the team .s
lead-off man Scott Timmerman.
The sophomore second baseman is
batting .390 and recently had an 11-
game hitting streak broken.
"Being lead-off hitter I concen-
trate on what the pitcher's got,"
Timmerman said. "My first at-bat
I'm always taking until he throws
a strike. That helps the other guys
so they can tell what they'll
expect when they go up to bat."
Right now it seems that what-
ever Turek's doing, it's producing
results. "Eddie's been a big help
for all of us," junior Todd
Winston said. "He's brought in a
more mental aspect. He gets you
thinking psychologically about
what you're going to do at bat
before you step into the cage."
Pete Rose used to say, "You see
the ball, you hit the ball." And
when it's all said and done that's
all that will count for Turek and
No. Name Pnc
1 Coach Moby Benedict
3 Kevin Crociata IF
4 Brian Feldman P
5 MatCopp IF
613 BubbaWyngarden C
7 Scott Winterlee IF
8 Coach Ace Adams
9 Tim Flannelly 3B
11 Head Coach Bill Freehan
12 Pat Maloney OF
*14 Dave Everly IF
15 Todd Winston C
16 Steve Buerkel OF
17 MattIdon lB
18 Todd Marion P
19 Joe Mooney C
20 Dennis Konuszewski P
21 Terry Woods P
22 Scott Tinmmermnan IF
23 Eric Persinger P
24 Jason Pfaff P
25 Andy Fairman IB
26 Eric Bush OF
27 Brian Santo P
28 Russell Brock P
29 Dan Ruff OF
30 Coach Ted Mahan
31 Chris Newton P
32 Brent Cymbalski P
33 Eric Heintschel P
34 Mike Matheny C
35 Coach Ed Turek
36 Jeff Tanderys P
37 Chris Michalek C
38 Toby Brzoznowski lB
39 Ryan Maier P
40 Aaron Toth P
41 Nate Holdren OF
by Josh Dubow
Daily Baseball Writer
The Michigan baseball pitching
staff exists in two parts - the
known and the unknown. The known
for coach Bill Freehan's squad are
starters Jason Pfaff, Russell Brock
and Dennis Konuszewski, and closer
The unknown is the fourth
starter in the rotation and the mid-
dle relief spots in the bullpen. The
fourth starter becomes very impor-
tant in the Big Ten season as the
Wolverines play four games each
Freehan has spent most of the
non-conference schedule searching
through his staff to find the right
pitchers to fill those roles. Right'
handers Eric Heintschel, Brent
Cymbalski and Jeff Tanderys join
southpaws Brian Feldman, Bryan
Santo and Chris Newton in pursuit
of these jobs.
"We are taking a wait and see ap-
proach to see who can fill the fourth
spot," Freehan said. "We will have
to do some analyzing and decide
what we want to do."
Tanderys, a senior, was the early
favorite for the position because of
his experience, but after only one
strong performance in three outings,
he has fallen to the bottom of the
pack. A sore arm also has not helped
Tanderys' cause, but he has started
to throw on the side and may be
ready as early as this week.
Freehan used last Wednesday's
contest against Western Michigan
to try to cement his rotation. He
used four of the competing pitchers
- Feldman, Heintschel, Cymbalski,
and Santo - to find at least one
who has distanced himself from the
Feldman faired the best out, of
the quartet even though he was
touched for four hits and three un-
earned runs in his three inning stint.
"(Feldman) doesn't possess an
arm like Brock or Pfaff, but he did
do some good things out there,"
While Feldman was far from
overpowering, evidenced by only in-
ducing two swinging strikes in his
three innings, he had sharp control:
23 of his 32 pitches were for strikes.
But clearly, Freehan will. be
looking to Pfaff, Brock and
Konuszewski to anchor his rotation.
Brock and Pfaff both starred for the
Wolverines last year. Brock was the
work horse of the staff, leading the
squad with 66.2 innings pitched,
while Pfaff led the squad with a
1.73 earned run average. Both right
handers were tied for the team lead
in victories with five.
Konuszewski has developed into
a strong third starter this season af-
ter posting a 4.38 ERA and a 1-2
record during his rookie year.
Konuszewski has been especially
impressive in his last two starts,
both at Fisher Stadium. Freehan has
been pleased with Konuszewski's
"Dennis has continued to im-
prove this season," Freehan said.
"He has firmly planted himself in
While Konuszewski's perfor-
mance may be the biggest surprise
for Freehan, both Pfaff and Brock
have been equally strong over this
"They have each pitched well at
times," Freehan said. "Actually
they have each been outstanding at
times. We feel really good about
Freehan also has to feel good-
about his bullpen ace - Marion; In
his first nine appearances, Marion
has yet to yield a run and has only
allowed eight men to reach base
safely in his 12 innings of work. He
also has struck out more than one--
man per inning while only issuing
APRIL 20 PURDUE (DH)
2 Eastern Michigan 21 PURDUE (DH)
3 Detroit 24 Michigan State (DH)
4 DETROIT 28 SIENA HEIGHTS (DH)
6 Iowa (DH) MAY
7 Iowa (DH) 4 INDIANA (DH)
9 Eastern Michigan 5 INDIANA (DH)
10 CENTRAL MICH. 7 Toledo
11 Western Michigan 8 MICHIGAN STATE (DH)
13 ILLINOIS (DH) 10 Minnesota
14 ILLINOIS (DH) 11 Minnesota (DH)
16 Central Michigan 12 Minnesota
17 FERRIS STATE DH start at 1pm, singles at 3 pm
18 Notre Dame Home Games in ALL CAPS
Blue survives through
by David Schechter
Daily Baseball Writer
It didn't seem right for Bill
Freehan to sit behind a desk wearing
a suit and a tie. He was born to lace
up a well-worn pair of spikes and
pull a baseball cap over his head.
Freehan was living in the white
collar world. His years of service
behind the plate for the Detroit
Tigers were memories of a stellar
career. Five consecutive Gold Glove
awards, 11 All-Star game ap-
pearances, 200 home runs in the
majors - achievements from a
Then the news broke. The
Wolverines were in trouble.
Allegations. Investigations. 'And
finally sanctions. A school with a
reputation for squeaky- clean
athletics had its first fall from
"I was surprised and a little
disappointed when I heard about it,"
Freehan said. "I had stayed
somewhat close to the program and
I had no idea what was going on.
When I found out what was going
on, I was very disappointed."
The athletic director, Bo
Baseball called. Freehan
answered. He took the job and left
his Birmingham, Mich. based
company, Freehan-Bocci, for the
And that's where his latest
'This year, we know
we can't compete for
the title from the very
start. We've prepared
for it, and our goals
Michigan Baseball coach
The new Michigan coach had to
pay the penalty for someone else's
wrong doing. He took the job
knowing that his first two seasons
in Ann Arbor would be extremely
Freehan could not actively
recruit players for his squad. The
sanctions tied his hands with
specifications on how much
Pitching Stats through 3/27
Name W L S IP ERA
Todd Marion 1 0 4 12.0 0.00
Brian Feldman 1 0 0 7.0 2.57
D. Konuszewski 2 0 0 25.2 3.16
Jason Pfaff 4 1 0 38.0 3.55
Russell Brock 2 3 0 33.1 4.05
Chris Newton 0 1 0 4.0 6.75
Bryan Santo 0 0 0 4.0 6.75
Brent Cymbalski 0 0 0 7.0 7.71
Eric Heintschel 0 1 0 7.2 8.21
Terry Woods 0 0 0 4.2 11.57
Jeff Tanderys 1 1 0 9.2 13.00
from a rookie
class that probably should not have
any. This year Freehan is back in the
running to sign some of America's
best talent. He has ten scholarships
to offer preps, and there are plenty
of young men who would benefit
from his tutelage.
Last season was a learning
process for Freehan and his boys of
spring. "Last year the sanctions hit
us after we had begun the season.
The realizations that we were not
going to be able to compete for the
title of Big Ten Champions had an
emotional effect on our baseball
club," Freehan said.
There is a new attitude at Fisher
The coach won't say howgbod
his team is. Coaches never do. Even
though last season had to hurt Che
Wolverines, Michigan has been
hovering in the Top 25 in several
national polls. A lot of people
think the Wolverines look pretty
What does Freehan think? "On
the field I think we regressed a bit
last year if you just look at the 'wins
and losses. We're now just starting
our Big Ten season. A lot remains to
be seen about where we are."
The Wolverines 'elected to play
some heavy competition in the early
season. Michigan went south to
sharpen their skills against some of
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