If Belleville native Dan Pietroburgo ever becomes a head baseball coach at the college or high-school level, he'll possess a deep appreciation for the work that goes on behind the scenes.
That's how Pietroburgo is contributing at Missouri, where he was a catcher for four years. Pietroburgo, 24, is a graduate manager for the Tigers, a do-it-all guy whose responsibilities range from hitting fungoes to organizing awards banquets and benefits to selecting the music to play during game-day batting practice.
NCAA rules, however, prohibit Pietroburgo from doing any coaching in his role with the Tigers.
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Pietroburgo traveled to New York City last weekend to see his former roommate at Missouri, Arizona left-hander Max Scherzer, pitch against the Mets.
"My sister (Kate) has an internship there," Pietroburgo said. "I saw that Max was going to be there and it worked out perfectly. We went and grabbed a quick bite to eat (after the game) and caught up on things.
"He's got it made. I just shrug off almost anything he says now because he's in a different world."
■ Scherzer a student of the stats (azcentral.com)
Not long after Diamondbacks pitcher Yusmeiro Petit nearly threw a no-hitter Tuesday night, Max Scherzer was on his iPhone in the visitor's clubhouse, bringing up a Web site with charts and graphs of every pitch, trying to figure out what his teammate had done to put himself within reach of history.
During a road trip last month, Scherzer was scrutinizing a site that charted umpires'
ball/strike tendencies, viewing it as a piece of information he could bring into his next start.
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"At the end, it really comes down to the same thing: Get ahead of hitters," Scherzer said. "It goes without saying that if you can throw Strike 1 well and get ahead of hitters with two strikes, you're going to pitch well.
"(The advanced statistics) are a different way to look at the same game and realizing what the driving forces are that make a pitcher successful. If I want to go out there and lower my ERA, I've got to do certain things that are the driving forces."