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John Schneider

John Schneider & Blue Jays manager will toss the ball to Guerrero, who will partake in the Home Run Derby for the second time in his career.

DETROIT (AP) — On Monday, John Schneider will be standing behind the L-screen at T-Mobile Park, knowing exactly where Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wants the ball.

John Schneider

“He’s not trying to spread the ball around in the Derby,” added Schneider. “I’ve been told to start in the middle and work my way up as the round progresses, so he can just use his hands if he gets tired.”

The Blue Jay’s first baseman finished second in the 2019 Derby, losing to Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, but not before setting an event record with 91 home runs. During the Derby, Schneider, the Blue Jays’ bench coach at the time, threw to Guerrero. Given their previous success, reuniting was a no-brainer.

“Once I decided to go to the Derby, I immediately asked John,” Guerrero stated through his interpreter Hector Lebron. “Of course, he said yes.”

While the Derby stage will be greater, Schneider is essentially a batting practice pro. Before the majority of Blue Jays games, the manager pitches to the first group of batters, which includes Guerrero, George Springer, Whit Merrifield, Kevin Kiermaier, and the starting catcher for that day.

Schneider began throwing batting practice as a minor-level club coach with the Blue Jays in 2008, and he has continued to do so ever since.

“Dick Scott, our farm director, once told me that you can’t coach if you can’t throw BP.” “That was a requirement,” Schneider explained as he sat in the visiting manager’s office at Comerica Park in Detroit. “It was like, you’ve got to hit fungoes and throw BP.” You must prove your worth. So I was like, okay, well, I assume that’s the reality, so I just threw every day, and then I threw every day as a manager. Guys liked hitting off of me because I was good at it.”

After being moved from bench coach to manager midway through the season and his pre-game responsibilities increased, the 43-year-old continued to throw batting practice on a daily basis, which is increasingly unusual among big-league managers. He does it because his players expect him to, but it’s also an activity he enjoys because it strengthens his bonds with them.

After being moved from bench coach to manager midway through the season and his pre-game responsibilities increased, the 43-year-old continued to throw batting practice on a daily basis, which is increasingly unusual among big-league managers. He does it because his players expect him to, but it’s also an activity he enjoys because it strengthens his bonds with them.
“I’ve always enjoyed throwing BP, and I feel like as I’ve progressed, I’ve done less and less, like I don’t have a fungo anymore.” “I always make fun of Gil (Kim) about it,” Schneider remarked. “I enjoy doing it because you can interact with them and talk to them. You certainly keep up with what they’re up to.”

Of course, the arm periodically aches. “There are occasions when

it,” Schneider remarked. “I enjoy doing it because you can interact with them and talk to them. You certainly keep up with what they’re up to.”

Of course, the arm periodically aches. “There are occasions when

Schneider adjusts his pitch position dependent on who is in the box. When asked where each of his batters prefers to hit the ball, the manager ticks them off like a server lists the day specialties.

“KK is in the middle away,” he explained. “As you could expect, Jano is in the middle. Vladdy, center away for the first two rounds, then just down the middle. He takes it and does whatever he wants with it. What is gone for the most part… and George is right in the midst of the zone.”

two from practicing ahead of the event, as they did in 2019, but Schneider has been-Schneider and Guerrero are expecting to rely on their familiarity with each other throughout the Derby. The Blue Jays’ schedule over the previous week prevented the throwing to Guerrero since 2017, so the slugger isn’t concerned about their lack of preparation this time.

“He knows where to throw it, and of course, it was perfect for the Derby back in ’19,” Guerrero said. “We’ve known each other for a while, and I’m using

 two from practicing ahead of the event like they did in 2019, but Schneider has been-Schneider and Guerrero are expecting to rely on their familiarity with each other throughout the Derby. The Blue Jays’ schedule over the previous week prevented theMatt Chapman faced Guerrero in the first round of the Derby four years ago, with his father, Jim, pitching to him. Chapman was a last-minute replacement, so his father didn’t have time to train prior. It was a difficult undertaking, given how important throwing strikes is to the success of the Derby player.

“(Schneider) was throwing the ball a little bit more consistently than my dad was throwing to me,” Chapman smiled.

 two from practicing ahead of the event, as they did in 2019, but Schneider has been Schneider and Guerrero are expecting to rely on their familiarity with each other throughout the Derby. The Blue Jays’ schedule over the previous week prevented even though Guerrero knocked Chapman out in the first round, Chapman and his father will remember the experience for the rest of their lives.

Even though Guerrero beat Chapman 29-13 in the opening round, knocking him out, the experience stands as a lifelong memory for Chapman and his dad.

“He handled it pretty well,” Chapman said of his dad. “He was just excited to be out there and it was a really cool experience. I wish he had gotten a little bit more practice, but Vladdy hit like 30 homers, so I don’t think it would have mattered.”
Schneider and Guerrero combined for extraordinary success in the inaugural Derby, winning three rounds — and three swing-offs against Joc Pederson — despite Guerrero falling just short of the title. Based on their prior results, they will be considered among the favorites for this edition, with Alonso and last year’s runner-up Julio Rodrguez, but there will be anxieties on Monday night.
“It’s because of the time, you just have to throw strikes,” Schneider explained. “But I think throwing to him every day, and throwing every day in general, makes it a little bit easier for (me) instead of Adley Rutschman’s dad or someone like that.”

“But as soon as you hit the first home run, everything goes out,” Guerrero says. “You’re back to normal,” he said.

Schneider may play catch before the Derby to warm up his arm, but he has no other pre-Derby routine. During the event, though, he understands exactly what he needs to accomplish.
“Just throw it middle in,” Guerrero said. “I’ll take care of the rest.”

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