Saturday, August 13, 2011

Catching Up

Matt Torra
Sorry for inconsistent posting schedule, work has dominated life the past couple of weeks. Here are a few of the things that have been sitting in my inbox.

If you don't read Adam Sobsey every day, you really should. I'll pick just one topic, but follow the link for Adam's insight on Russ Canzler, Leslie Anderson, Tim Beckham, and the health of outfielders Justin Ruggiano, Brandon Guyer and Matt Carson. Here is what he had to say about RHSP Matt Torra and the Bulls rotation the rest of the season:
As for Torra's opinion of his performance, feel free to text him if you have his phone number. His gear bag was packed, his locker tidied, and he himself out of the building by the time we reporters arrived in the clubhouse. He remains the only player, other than recently-acquired and immediately injury-shelved Matt Carson, that I have yet to talk to in the locker room. He's an enigma, even a cipher.

All I can say is, if Torra has gained traction, and can pitch effectively and deep into ballgames for the Bulls for the rest of the year, then I don't care if he never grants the media a single interview: He'll give the Bulls a starting rotation with four great-to-solid pitchers in it. Matt Moore, Alexander Torres, Andy Sonnanstine and an effective Torra are a barbershop quartet with well-stropped blades, and I'd bet they'll remain with the Bulls at least until September 1, and perhaps beyond. If Durham makes the playoffs, here's betting that the Rays leave at least three of these pitchers in Class AAA to help the team pursue another Governors' Cup. Minor-league trophies are of vestigial concern to the front office, but they do matter to some degree as a point of corporate pride—and, perhaps more importantly, the Rays do like to see how their farmhands respond to playoff pressure, even if it's in the minors.

Adam Lawson has done a great job profiling the Princeton players this season. This time it's reliever Garret Smith:
For Smith, his story started not too long ago. That's because he didn't truly start pitching until his senior year at Boston College. Smith was a catcher who also saw time at shortstop and first and third base. After pitching a total of five innings his first three years with the Eagles, Smith asked new BC coach Mike Gambino if he could start pitching on a regular basis. Just like that, he was named the team's closer.

"I always thought the strength of my game was my arm," Smith admitted. "I moved from shortstop to catcher (in between his sophomore and junior seasons) because of my arm. It was my suggestion to move to pitching, and the coach supported it."

Speaking of profiles, Josh Weir had a very good one on injured Durham starter Dirk Hayhurst:
Hayhurst wrote a New York Times bestseller, “The Bullpen Gospels,” which came out last year. Another book, “Out of My League,” is finished and scheduled to be on shelves April 2012, while Hayhurst is under contract for a third book sometime in the future. A movie script for “The Bullpen Gospels” is in the works.

As he enjoyed success with his book, he struggled with baseball. Hayhurst dealt with depression in 2010, a season spent injured, not competing against opposing hitters, but competing with self-doubt and loneliness.
Talk to Hayhurst and little is said about release points, WHIPs or locating his fastball. He does not sound like a typical athlete. He jokes of his balky elbow, “Yep, I’ll be healthy just in time for them to release me.”

He describes the sometime misguided value system in professional baseball, sarcastically saying, “The pursuit of big cars, big houses and big boobs is like the best thing on Earth, and baseball provides you that.”

What will the voice of the Biscuits be doing this off-season?
Joe Davis, a former Beloit College football player and 2010 graduate, continues to move up the broadcasting ladder. Davis will join Cole Cubelic and Erin Cofiell as the broadcast team for the Sun Belt Network’s football television package. The SBN covers exclusively the Sun Belt Conference.

This will be the first season for Davis as play-by-play announcer on the network. He is currently in his second season as the voice of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits.

Prior to his Sun Belt work, Davis will debut with ESPN doing Atlantic Coast Conference football for ESPN 3, the network’s online broadcast feature. His first game on ESPN 3 will be Troy University at Clemson on Sept. 3.

And finally, a short interview and some highlights of Bowling Green outfielder Kevin Kiermaier:

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