Catricala preps for pro season, UH alumni game
BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Vinnie Catricala spent three years with the University of Hawai'i baseball program. Yet, he found himself toeing unfamiliar territory yesterday at Les Murakami Stadium.
"I was out here doing agility drills and speed drills," said the former Rainbow third baseman. "I never did that in college. (I've) got to put a lot of emphasis on certain aspects of my game. It is different, but I love it."
Catricala is here for a couple of weeks and will play in next Saturday's annual alumni game at 1 p.m.
Catricala enjoyed his best season with the Rainbows last year, when he hit .349 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs. It was the kind of season a junior wants in his "money year," or when a player has the most negotiating leverage if drafted.
Catricala was selected in the 10th round by the Seattle Mariners. He signed and hit .301 with eight homers and 40 RBIs in 59 games for Pulaski (Va.) of the rookie Appalachian League. Baseball America's draft report card for the Mariners considered his performance "Best Pro Debut" for his organization.
The goal for his first spring training is make it to one of the full-season Single-A clubs.
It was a long season for Catricala, one of four 'Bows to play all 58 games last year. After his first pro season, he spent a couple of weeks in an instructional league in September.
While his hitting might have made the transition from college to pros, Catricala said he needs to work on his defense.
"My defense kind of went out the window, so I've been working on that a lot," said Catricala, who was charged with 15 errors last season as a Rainbow. "I've been working on my foot work and foot speed. My lateral, side-to-side movements. I'll probably start taking ground balls the next couple days here."
Catricala is one of two UH alumni still active in big league-affiliated organizations who will play in the Alumni game. The other is Jon Hee, a 21st-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2008. Hee spent most of last season at High-A Salem (Mass.), where he hit .233 with three homers and 35 RBIs in 87 games.
Catricala is looking forward to playing against his former teammates.
"I've been here since Kevin's (Macdonald) been here, since Sam's (Spangler) been here and JVD (Jeff Van Doornum), so it's going to be weird playing against them," Catricala said. "But it's going to fun."