Maddux brothers team up to help pitchers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross could feel a presence behind him as he fired pitches to hitters from a mound tucked away on the far side of the Texas Rangers' spring training complex.

Greg Maddux, a future Hall of Famer, watched from behind a screen as Ross confidently threw all four of his pitches -- fastball, slider, curve and change -- and worked on some minor tweaks to his delivery. Once the session was over, Maddux chatted with him for five minutes or so, quizzing him on how the ball felt coming out of his hand and what kind of action he was getting on his pitches.

Less than 20 seconds after talking with Greg Maddux, Ross was discussing things with pitching coach Mike Maddux, who was more concerned with how Ross' delivery was and whether the lefty felt like he was doing what he wanted with his lower body.

It was the kind of tag-team effort that's applied to all the pitchers at one time or another in Surprise. And it isn't just the Maddux brothers, either. Andy Hawkins has his say, and so does a group of minor league and organizational instructors.

"I think that's the best thing about this organization is that you've got so many guys helping and that can work together," Greg Maddux said. "We help the players and each other. Everyone is involved."

This is Greg's second spring with the club, and he spends his mornings on the field watching the pitchers and sharing his knowledge.

"He's got so much experience and with everything he's done in the game, it's great for all of the pitchers to learn from him," Ross said. "I'm not nervous pitching with him there. But I want to make sure I'm doing everything and that I listen."

Greg Maddux is impressed by what he has seen so far.

"Robbie was crisp [Friday] and kept the ball down and moved his fastball to both sides," Maddux said. "Yu [Darvish] had good movement and threw well. That's what you want to see right now."

One thing the pitchers know: Wherever they are, it's likely one Maddux is watching.