ATLANTA -- Nate Schierholtz's throwing makes him a throwback. Rare is the contemporary outfielder who possesses a truly strong arm. Schierholtz is an exception, as reflected by his team-high five outfield assists, which also tied him for seventh among National League right fielders entering Monday. Schierholtz's total may not increase so quickly once opponents realize the risk of trying to take an extra base on him. That won't change Schierholtz's approach.
"I try to make an accurate throw to the cutoff man. I'm not really thinking about throwing guys out," he said. "You stick with the fundamentals and make a strong throw. If it happens, it happens." Not surprisingly, Schierholtz developed his arm the old-fashioned way. He simply threw a lot as a youth and, at 25, continues to do so. He plays long toss -- throwing from extended distances -- virtually year-round, rarely letting more than a couple of days go by without limbering his arm. "Sometimes I stretch it out as far as I can go," Schierholtz said. Long toss has become an essential aspect of Schierholtz's arm maintenance. "If I don't [do it], I can tell there's a big difference in my arm strength," he said. "It's like weightlifting or anything else. The more you keep it up, the stronger you're going to be." Schierholtz recalled pitching frequently in Little League and even served as a part-time closer for his American Legion team when he was 18. Though he believes that his velocity topped out at 90 mph, he was hardly a complete pitcher. "I never had good off-speed stuff because I never worked on it," Schierholtz said. "I just threw fastballs all the time." Schierholtz's mound career ended for good once he began playing baseball at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif. He didn't need pitching to further his status as a prospect. "I always hit well," he said without a trace of boastfulness. By then, Schierholtz had moved to third base, the spot the Giants drafted him at in 2003 before switching him to the outfield two years later.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.