CLEARWATER, Fla. - Doug Drabek remembers his first spring training in big-league camp.
"Barely," he said. "But yes."
Barely, because it happened 21 years ago. Yes, because the camp included New York Yankees legends Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Ron Guidry, Rickey Henderson and Willie Randolph.
Drabek, 44, appeared at Phillies camp yesterday to watch his son Kyle, the team's first-round pick last June, throw live batting practice at the Carpenter Complex. He also was there because his other son, 20-year-old Justin, is taking part in an open tryout for the Phillies this weekend.
Doug Drabek, who pitched 13 seasons in the majors and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990, said Dave Righetti and Brian Fisher took him under their wing that first camp.
Jamie Moyer has taken Kyle under his.
"Be seen and not heard," Righetti and Fisher told Doug in his camp. "Show up and do what you're supposed to do."
"Learn," Moyer has told Kyle. "While you're here, learn. You know you're only going to be here a short period of time. Make the best of it. Be serious when you need to be serious, but have fun. Take it in. Talk to people. Learn. That's the way you become better."
Drabek kept his distance from the field where his son threw yesterday. He was close enough to watch, but far enough not to announce his presence.
"I think that's a good match there," he said of Moyer's relationship with Kyle. "Jamie has been around. He's a thinker out there. So it's been good for Kyle. Just talking to him, not necessarily about pitching but handling yourself and other things to think about - things that are part of it other than getting on the hill and throwing. That's been real good for him coming out of high school."
Kyle Drabek is in camp because he negotiated an invitation as part of his signing bonus. In six starts last season in rookie ball, he went 1-3 with a 7.71 earned run average. He lacked command with his pitches, and Phillies officials think that's partly because he felt pressure to live up to the hype for a first-round pick.
Drabek is expected to pitch Wednesday against Florida State before the Phillies start their Grapefruit League schedule Thursday. If he shows better command this spring, he could open the season with single-A Lakewood. If the command isn't there, the Phillies will keep him in extended spring training and have him open the season with single-A Williamsport in the New York-Penn League.
But the Phillies think the big-league exposure has helped him.
So does he.
"My whole thing is just to come here and learn a lot," Drabek said. "Learn about pitching and myself. Trying to keep my composure, even on the bullpen. I'm a perfectionist. I want everything perfect. I know it's not going to happen, but I'll get upset with myself."
The 19-year-old said he has had his share of nerves in camp. He barely knew anybody.
"Then a whole bunch of players started talking to me, and the nervousness went away," he said. "I mean, just going out there two days ago, the first day I pitched live batting practice, I didn't want to hit them. I had trouble keeping the ball down. Today it was almost the same problem, but a little better. I'm still, like, wowed by it. Being around [Ryan] Howard, [Brett] Myers and Moyer and them. It's an amazing thing. This is what I've always wanted to do."
Howard helped Drabek when he told him he was tipping his curveball.
But Moyer seems to have been there the most, if Drabek ever has a question.
"We throw every day," Drabek said. "I told him that I couldn't keep the ball down, so he told me to look at the glove and throw through the glove. In the bullpen, I was doing that, but once I got out to the batters today I had a little trouble."
He's 19, so he knows he has time to figure that out.
"He's talking to a guy that has been through it all and is more in tune with the things that go along with it," Doug Drabek said. "It's almost like having a dad out there."