GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Another pitching coach might have felt a bit slighted with all the commotion around the presence of pitching guru Sandy Koufax at Dodgers Spring Training camp, but not Rick Honeycutt.
"No way," said Honeycutt. "Without a doubt, the more I'm around him the more I learn. In my opinion, he's the best. He just has such a great way about him."
Honeycutt first met Koufax in 1984, Honeycutt's first Spring Training as a Dodger, while Koufax was in an 11-year stint as an organizational instructor. Honeycutt was coming off a deadline trade from Texas the previous summer, having brought with him the lowest ERA in the American League. Still, Honeycutt went to Koufax for a bullpen session.
"The first time we met, I was somewhat in awe, but I saw the ease he had with the other guys," said Honeycutt. "It was so different with him. I had pitched in the Major Leagues for six years, but I never heard people concentrate on what he talked about -- the lower half of the body."
The Dodgers have worked Koufax into their workout schedule for the roughly 10 days he's expected to be in camp. Honeycutt said Koufax prefers one-on-one sessions with pitchers. He's already worked with just about every pitcher on the Major League roster, as well as top pitching prospects Zack Lee, Chris Reed and Angel Sanchez.
"When I came back to the organization in 2001, one of the major goals was to get the Dodgers back to the way they taught pitching for so many years," said Honeycutt. "They had gotten away from it, from the way it was taught by the great pitching coaches like Red Adams, Ron Perranoski, Dave Wallace and Sandy.
"The great thing about having Sandy around is to listen to the stories of success, not just his great talent pitching but his ability to say in simple terms what we're trying to accomplish. I've always felt that I'm extension of him in that way."