Is this guy Wile E. Coyote? Or Pig Pen?
So Alex Escobar was standing near the batting cage this morning when Tony Blanco stepped in to take some hacks. (You remember Tony Blanco, right? Rule 5 pick from a couple years ago. Stayed on the roster all of 2005, when this team -- now really stretch your memories -- was in first place at the all-star break. He's here. I saw him. Really, I did. And the good folks of Harrisburg will likely get to familiarize themselves with him again.)
Anyway, Blanco was taking some hacks. Escobar was protected by a) a batting cage that is supported by metal rods, and b) a net that runs between the rods, and c) the fact that it's batting practice and guys generally hit the ball straight. Even in live BP.
But this is Alex Escobar, the guy with all the talent who, should he walk down a street in D.C., might fall into a manhole which had its cover removed. So, naturally, Blanco fouled a ball off. It hit directly off the plate. And it bounced directly into Escobar's knee.
Out till June.
Escobar jumped back and hopped it off. An athletic trainer tended to him immediately, and he was able to stay out there. "You're not supposed to get hit while you're standing by the cage," he said later. But as talented as this guy is (and you should see how ripped he is), it's almost as if an anvil could fall on him while he's shagging fly balls, or like there's a dark cloud that shadows his every move.
If he's healthy, man, he can hit. Discussions about placing him in a bubble for the rest of spring training have commenced in the executive offices on the fourth floor here at Space Coast Stadium.
Also: Felipe Lopez bought the Millionaire Club lunch. Boston Market meatloaf, turkey, macaroni, etc. Nick Johnson was Saturday (Italian) and Austin Kearns Sunday (Mexican, with a little fried chicken on the side (as he's from the 'K' in KFC, which means he's mourning yesterday's loss to Vanderbilt, which made Vandy's own Dave Sheinin very happy, so there's something cyclical there)).
Tomorrow, new millionaire Chad Cordero will buy the lunch. But who knows what's going to happen once games start? This club's running out of millionaires.
Other non-news: No Teddy Roosevelt at today's workout.
Actual news: Interesting watching some bullpen sessions today. Shawn Hill was working on a cut fastball for the first time under the tutelage (now that's a good word) of pitching coach Randy St. Claire. He has no idea whether he'll use it in a game, but he threw about five or six in a live batting practice session. It'd be an interesting pitch for Hill, whose sinker tends to run away from left-handed hitters, and this would be a pitch he could run the other way, right in on their belt buckle. (You just might be able to read more about this in tomorrow's Post, which only costs $.35, or, of course, is free online. Who knows?)
All right. I'm going to go check out some of the minor league dudes. They've got a whole slew here in "accelerated" camp, and I'm going to try to go watch last year's two first-round picks -- RHP Colton Willems and 1B/3B/OF Chris Marrero -- this afternoon. I'll try to give you something on them later.
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