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Future Dust Devils hard at work at extended spring training

The Tri-City Dust Devils are still more than two months away from beginning their season, but several members of the 2010 Dust Devils are already hard at work at the Colorado Rockies’ spring training site in Tucson, Ariz.

We just don’t know which ones will actually make it to Tri-Cities yet.

But Dust Devils manager Fred Ocasio talked about life behind the scenes at extended spring training.

Ocasio said there are between 48-52 players currently in camp, many of them on rehabilitation assignments. Several of those on rehab are former Dust Devils, including Darin Holcomb (3B, 2006) and Charlie Blackmon (OF, 2008).

The roster is split down the middle between pitchers and position players, but everybody gets plenty of work. And the work begins early.

“Waking up in the morning is the worst thing,” said Ocasio, who works mainly with coaches and trainers from the Dust Devils’ and (rookie league) Casper Ghosts’ staffs.

Included among the group from the Dust Devils is hitting coach Anthony Sanders, pitching coach Joey Eischen and trainer Andy Stover. The Casper Ghosts’ staff consists of manager Tony Diaz, hitting coach Jon Stone, pitching coach Craig Bjornson and trainer Josh Guterman.

The day begins at 7:15 a.m. with early hitting drills, which go on for 30 minutes. Then it’s a staff meeting until 8:10 a.m. After that it’s back onto the field for stretching.

Once everybody gets loosened up, it’s into the throwing program, after which everybody breaks up into different groups for infield and outfield defensive drills.

Following that is fundamentals. Lately, Ocasio said the group is working on bunt defense and pop-up priority.

After practice wraps up, it’s time for some rest. Or some golf.

“We usually try to golf Wednesday and Saturday,” Ocasio said. “A lot of guys go back to the hotel to the swimming pool or to take a nap.”

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