Lakeland, land of sun and hurt

Postcard Paws by Samara Pearlstein

Ah, Spring Training. Where nothing means anything, unless someone gets hurt. But who cares? THERE IS BASEBALL (of a sort).

So far it has all been good meaningless fun, as no one has gotten hurt yet… wait, I lie, poor Brennan Boesch took a baseball to the face and had to go to the hospital to get stitches. It doesn’t sound like anything is broken, displaced, or otherwise complicatedly maimed, and I haven’t heard mention of any concussion symptoms, so hopefully this will just be an unfortunate cosmetic situation for our BB.

Other than THAT, the injuries have been kept down. Inge, as we all know, is ahead of schedule. Scott Sizemore, recovering from a broken ankle and desperately needed at second base this year, played in a game without hurting himself. Bondo pitched a couple of good innings today, did not hurt himself. Carlos Guillen, so far as I know, has managed to walk around and breathe and occasionally move his arms and things without hurting himself.

Joel Zumaya, also In Recovery, has remained uninjured. But he did injure someone else: pitching against Florida Southern on Tuesday, he hit one of the college kids in the back. Even if he’s not throwing triple digits just yet, I can’t imagine it’s terribly fun to get beaned by a Zoom pitch. It led to this:

“I got the ball, I started walking back and I heard the crowd,” Zumaya recalled Wednesday morning. “So I turned back and I see the kid getting held back. I take my hat off and I’m like, ‘Oh, you little kid, I hope you’re 18 years old, because I’m going to beat your butt.’

“When I started walking back, the kid winked at me, and I’m like, ‘All right, all right.’ And I’m like, ‘Come on. This is not time to play show. [Team president/general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] is in the stands right now.”

Zumaya met [Florida Southern outfielder Tyler] Benzel along the first-base line to apologize and shake his hand, completing a moment that would’ve made for a great highlight if the game had been televised.
Jason Beck/

Getting hit by Joel Zumaya, then posturing like you want to fake-fight him? Someone give that kid a high five from me, please. Most other college players or minor leaguers would have been either lying on the ground in agony, or soiling their sliding shorts in fear. Mr. Benzel, we are impressed/delighted.

7 responses to “Lakeland, land of sun and hurt

  1. Apparently they all spent the offseason getting tattooed–here’s Ryan Perry’s new ink:

    What were his parents thinking of, when they signed the permisssion slip for this?

  2. Bondo sounds like he’s coming through pretty good from surgery. High Five to the young man from me, as well. Just looking at that picture up top, and it looks like Paws wishes everyone were in Lakeland sunning themselves with him right now.

  3. rea, nah, Perry had all that last season. In fact, remember, it was his showing off the forearm tattoos at the date auction that eventually led to Edwin Jackson taking off his shirt.

    Lauren, Paws wishes nothing but the best for each and every one of us, of course!

  4. Paws, I wish I was there, too!

  5. So, we all know that Paws customarily wears only a jersey, hat, and shoes. He’s clearly without a jersey here, so are we to assume that he’s naked?

    Lakeland: unexpected nudist colony.

  6. Bobby Seay isn’t doing so well so far.

  7. cherub_daemon

    There’s a bit of unheralded crazy in that Boesch article, actually. Apparently Tom Brookens is the new OF coach? Andy Van Slyke was a pretty good CF in his time, but Brookens played all of 32 innings out there, against like 8000 at third.

    I’m fine with Leyland’s habit of hiring coaches he knows, but that seems a little funny. Incidentally, Leyland has gone on the record as saying that he really liked Brookens from all the way back in the day, when he was a coach in the Tigers minors system and Brookens was coming up. I wouldn’t be shocked if he became Smokey’s hand-picked successor in a couple years.

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