Cactus League Game 3.5, Mariners vs Angels
Jeremy Bonderman vs. Garrett Richards, 12:05
It seems like it was only a few years ago that Jeremy Bonderman was a precocious high school phenom from Pasco who was so ready for pro ball that he was drafted as a junior (he got his GED despite struggling with learning disabilities). Ok, no, it seems like it was a lifetime ago. From a trade and the subsequent write-up in ‘Moneyball’ to a single-A to MLB rotation playing with the worst baseball team in a generation, to a six WAR season, to frustratingly talented journeman to injury victim. He’s barely 30 years old, and he’s been at the center of some of the biggest baseball arguments of the past 20 years. Should teams draft high-school pitchers? If you’re going to rebuild, does it matter if your team could lose 120 games? Do some pitchers really have true-talent BABIP problems, or is FIP a better gauge of talent in essentially every case?
Jeremy Bonderman has had Tommy John surgery. He’s had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and he wasn’t even a Texas Ranger. That malady not only caused a blood clot in his shoulder that required surgery, it eventually led him to have a rib removed. Beyond the arguments, beyond the frustrated promise, Jeremy Bonderman is just trying to pitch again, if only to retire without a bunch of questions and regrets. There are reclamation projects in every club’s camp right now, and the list of players who think rest, recovery or even a titanium necklace has cured them of career-threatening injuries encompasses essentially every living pitcher who missed the MLB season in 2012. The M’s have two of them, after all. But it’s tough to root against Bonderman.
And it’s against the Angels, so, I mean, c’mon.
Line-up, now featuring the starting double-play combo for the first time:
1: Ackley 2B
2: Wells CF
3: Bay LF
4: Morales DH
5: Montero C
6: Smoak 1B
7: Thames RF
8: Liddi 3B
9: Ryan SS
Other pitchers who figure to see some action include Brandon Maurer, who’s replaced Erasmo Ramirez as the 4th member of the ‘Big Three’ pitching prospects (never let math stand in the way of marketing), Andrew Carraway, Anthony Fernandez, Carson Smith and Brian Moran. Glad that this game takes place in Peoria.
Go Bonderman, and Go M’s.