Ochinko Still Catching On For Jays
DUNEDIN, Fla.—Catching is not a new position to Sean Ochinko, but for most of his baseball career he has combined it with playing first or third base.
So the transition to full-time catcher has taken time.
"I think he's made tremendous progress," roving catching instructor Sal Fasano said. "Right now as a receiver, he could probably receive in the big leagues. But there is a lot of stuff, because he is new to the position, where it's a little bit difficult because you don't have the reps: the blocking, the throwing to second base, even calling the game."
The Blue Jays drafted Ochinko in the 11th round in 2009 out of Louisiana State.
"Sean kind of did it part-time when he was in college and he didn't get a chance to call his own game, so in the minors it was a process of how do we get him to learn that part of it," said Fasano, who was Ochinko's manager at low Class A Lansing in 2010 and Double-A New Hampshire last season. "He's got way more upside still, so I'm not sure where his ceiling lays.
"If he gets the timing with the blocking and the timing of his throwing and they catch up to his bat, then he's a potential big leaguer."
Ochinko, 25, hit .278/.327/.438 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 324 at-bats between high Class A Dunedin and New Hampshire last season. He received a non-roster invitation to big league spring training this year.
"I'm trying to work hard every day on everything: hitting, my catching, all parts of my game," Ochinko said. "I'm most proud of how much my defense behind the plate has gotten better over the last couple of years with all the work I've done with Sal on that and with the transition to being an everyday catcher.
"He's really drilled me hard on my receiving, my blocking, all phases of my catching."
• The Blue Jays traded first baseman Art Charles to the Phillies for righthander Michael Schwimer. Charles, 22, hit .236/.381/.528 between Rookie-level Bluefield and short-season Vancouver last season. Schwimer, 27, went 2-1, 4.46 in 35 appearances out of the Phillies bullpen last season.
• Righthander John Stilson, 22, tossed two scoreless innings in his first two appearances of big league camp. The 2011 third-round pick from Texas A&M went 5-4, 3.88 in 50 innings between Dunedin and New Hampshire last season.