Weiss emphasizing double plays to his pitchers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- New Rockies manager Walt Weiss admitted he has to learn his pitchers, who began working out with catchers on Tuesday afternoon. But Weiss was certain that the pitchers know where he stands.

Weiss spent a long big league career with the Athletics, Rockies, Marlins and Braves as a shortstop. Suffice to say, the double play was his favorite play. It still is.

"There's nothing real revolutionary; a lot of organizations talk about the same thing," said Weiss, who worked as a special front-office assistant with the Rockies from 2002-2008 before taking time off to be with family and coach his children. "But we're really going to try to drive home the fact that we're going to put the ball on the ground as a pitching staff. Good things happen when you do that.

"We're going to get real good at turning double plays. Our infielders are going to do it well. Everything we do defensively is going to be geared toward turning double plays, turning two outs with a pitch. Pitchers will have to be able to identify how they do that individually."

Weiss' first day began with a meeting with pitchers and catchers during which he presented what he called a "clear vision" of his ground-ball-oriented managing philosophy. Beyond that, he operated quietly. Bench coach Tom Runnells organized the drills and the practice plan, and Weiss made it a point to allow the pitching coaches freedom.

Weiss said one of his biggest tasks is becoming acquainted with the players, some of whom he had never met or barely knew before arriving at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. That's especially true of the pitchers.

"I've had to do a lot more homework on the pitching staff than the position players," Weiss said. "Several of the position players, I've been around before -- a few of the pitchers. That's something I'm focusing on, spending some time and getting to know some of these guys."