Well, the Good News is it isn’t The Plague
Thursday, March 23, 2006, 3:36 pm
This is the second time now that my left ankle has swelled into a grapefruit. The pain is indescribable. I tore my achilles tendon in 2000 (it was well documented then because I was playing a pick-up basketball game that included women and my wife … Division I basketball-caliber women I repeatedly try to remind people), and the pain doesn’t come close to gout.
So anyway, doubt you all care, but I do have sympathy for any of you out there who suffer from gout. I ended up in the Emergency Room yesterday morning, but by 8 pm last night felt much better. You have to love it when the doctor gives you medicine and says, take this until you get sick. But it worked.
I was able to limp in to the office today and get some work done … and at least it is not the plague. I have now been sick twice, been on antibiotics for five days, had prescriptions for two anti-inflammatories, the sick drug, and Vicatin. No offense to Tucson, but I really just want to go home right now. I am on a plane Sunday.
Minor League Games
Enough of my whining.
One of the best things about spring training is that each day, minor league games between organizations are taking place on back fields. I love to go watch. You see a mix of young players, with major leaguers sprinkled in, and you are just feet away.
Today, we had Javier Vazquez and Matt Thornton play in a Class AAA game against the Dbacks. AJ (2-4, RBI) caught and Pablo Ozuna had three at-bats (2-3). Vazquez was virtually unhittable, allowing one run (homer) on three hits over 7.0 IP. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
Thornton threw a great first inning (two strikeouts) and then struggled in the second, allowing three runs on five hits. Four of the hits were hard-hit ground balls and one was a double off the wall. He did not talk a batter, struck out five and was throwing gas. There is a lot of talent here, and hopefully, Don Cooper can straighten him out. The ball jumps at you.
Meanwhile in the Class AA game, Rob Mackowiak was 2-4 with a double and Jim Thome went 2-6 with a home run and two walks (he batted second each inning).
As he walked back past us, we laughed and told him to go over to the Dbacks dugout and grab a bat so he could face Thornton.
"No way," he smiled. "I’m ending today on a high note (the homer)."
I spent some time the other day messing with a few stats trying to provide you all with an argument that put our spring record in context. After several futile attempts, I quit. Right now, I have no defense. I thought the ERAs of our regular staff would show pretty well. They are not great. I thought we seemed to give up a lot of runs late in the games to lose leads. Not really. Surprisingly, we give up about a third of our runs in innings 7-8-9. So I quit.
I was talking about my quest with Ken Williams and Rick Hahn, our assistant GM, and Kenny summed it up well …
"We really can’t explain it," he said, "year after year when the jet’s wheels leave the ground in Tucson, our pitchers just seem to suddenly get better."
Ozzie laughing at a comment by Joey Cora during an exhibition Thursday (AP Photo).