Former All-Star Kaat visits Marlins camp
Former player, broadcaster speaks with young Florida pitchers
JUPITER, Fla. -- So many of the Marlins' pitchers in camp have yet to turn 25 years old, but on Monday morning they gained some insights from a man who spent a quarter of a century in the big leagues.
Respected former player and broadcaster Jim Kaat was a guest of the Marlins on Monday morning. He spent about 45 minutes talking to the youthful Florida pitchers.
Kaat didn't stay long at camp, as he exited shortly after talking to the players, hours before the Marlins faced the Twins.
Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley said Kaat left an impression.
Kaat, 69, was in the Major Leagues from 1959-83, and he appeared in 898 games, while compiling a 283-237 record.
"We have a lot of young pitchers in our camp and they tend to look at things in a young way," Wiley said. "[Kaat's] a guy who came up as a young guy and he stayed in the big leagues for 25 years. He had some insights that maybe some other people don't have, and he's a great speaker. He has a way of communicating with those guys.
"In this camp, we're trying to emphasize throwing strikes. That's one of the first things he hit on: Command your fastball and throw strikes early in the count and how important it is to do that."
Other topics Kaat addressed were how to compete.
"He talked about things you need to learn at a young age to compete at this level and how you should trust your stuff," Wiley said. "You can't buy his kind of information. People who have experienced it know how it works. They know the key to success and longevity."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.