Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Today's B&B post looks at Micah Owings converting from pitching to becoming a position player, the Rays strike out once again with finding a new home, Mark Prior's latest comeback attempt to the major leagues, and Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone of the White Sox having some communication breakdowns since the 2011 season.
Good morning, all. If you haven't heard, Scott Diamond has apparently had some complications with his offseason elbow surgery to remove bone spurs, reducing his chances of starting the 2013 season on the 25-man roster. For a team that is trying to overcome the bad luck from 2011 and the disappointing 2012 campaign, this is definitely not a step in the right direction. If Diamond isn't ready to go, we may be treated once more to the Samuel Deduno Experience, which I 95% guarantee will not go as well this time around as it/he did last year. Get healthy soon, Scott. Just avoid that deer antler spray, though.
- Micah Owings had a pretty uninspiring career as a pitcher, but he was quite possibly the best hitting pitcher in the major leagues, carrying a career .283/.310/.502 triple slash with 9 career home runs in only 219 plate appearances. His combination of terrible pitching and excellent hitting has led him to forgo the pitching rubber now, and instead continue his career as a first baseman with the Washington Nationals on a minor league contract. The highest-profile player that switched from pitching to becoming a position player in recent memory is Rick Ankiel (who coincidentally played for the Nationals in 2012), but the last player to make the conversion was former Orioles pitcher Adam Loewen. Ankiel had only one good season with the Cardinals and Loewen has not seen significant major league action since his switch, so Owings' predecessors' lack of success suggests that he has a long road ahead of him. Now go say "Owings' predecessors' lack of success suggests" 5 times fast.
- There was a brief window of opportunity for the Tampa Bay Rays when the city of St. Petersburg proposed a bill that would allow the team to look outside the city for a new home. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the City Council of St. Petersburg failed to make progress on the bill, meaning that the Rays will continue to be stuck with their lease in Tropicana Field until 2027. It's too bad for the Rays, but they had originally signed a 30-year deal to play inside the Trop, and I'm not sure if anyone was aware of how hard it would be to draw fans based on the surrounding area and the rush hour traffic on the Howard Frankland Bridge when the contract was first signed. Good luck to the Rays, but unless the city of St. Petersburg is bought out, I see the Rays being stuck at the Trop all the way until the lease ends.
- Mark Prior is a fantastic story of a pitcher that once had so much promise but was derailed by injuries, as he has not pitched in the major leagues since 2006. There's a lengthy article by Doug Miller of MLB.com that details his injuries after his explosive start to his career with the Chicago Cubs, his fight to return, and his role in the Steve Bartman playoff game. If you have 15 minutes or so of free time, I definitely suggest reading this piece.
- Finally, I can't help but hear Nelson Muntz laughing when I first read this article. Chicago White Sox TV announcers Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone have apparently had some issues with each other over the past 2 years. Now, if you've ever heard Hawk call a baseball game, you can easily see how someone might have a problem with him, but I'd have to imagine that some of the tension in their relationship fell on Stone's shoulders as well. Regardless, it sounds like after an intervention by chairman of the board Jerry Reinsdorf that the two have patched up their relationship. That's too bad, because for as often as Hawk leaves us with dead air following a walk-off loss, it would be comedic gold if Hawk attempted a lede-in for Stone, only to be met with his own taste of the silent treatment.
Edit: Bonus material!