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Jason Lane made his starting debut today. He lost, but pitched pretty darn well

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Jason Lane spent seven seasons as a hitter. Not a terrible one, either. He posted an .815 OPS, hit 26 homers, and had 78 RBI in 145 games for a pennant winner in 2005. But after that he crashed hard and was done as a big league bat.

He reinvented himself as a pitcher in the Padres organization and was called up in June. Today he got his first start at age 37. And it wasn’t half bad: six innings pitched, six hits, one earned run, two strikeouts and a couple of walks. He also went 1 for 2 at the plate. He didn’t get the win, however, as (a) he was backed by the San Diego Padres’ offense; and (b) Ervin Santana tossed eight shutout innings while striking out 11.

But regardless of what happened with the decision, give it the heck up for Jason Lane. A guy who…

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First impressions of a skinny kid named Greg Maddux

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

[nbcsports_video src=http://player.theplatform.com/p/VHZQDC/cubs/embed/select/pOLeOqXuFTbd width=620 height=348]

Greg Maddux looked like a guy who should be riding a Metra commuter train to his 9-to-5 job in the Loop, maybe sneaking out later to catch a Cubs game and have a few beers at Wrigley Field.

Maddux didn’t do intimidation or scream Hall of Famer, even while becoming one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. So imagine him coming out of Valley High School in Las Vegas, as a teenager in instructional league, failing all the eye tests.

“We had a bunch of older coaches, and guys would bring their sons out there and stuff like that,” Mike Brumley recalled Thursday. “This little skinny guy walks by me, and I’m like, ‘Hey, is that one of the coaches’ sons?’ And they go, ‘No, that’s our second-rounder.’

“I go, ‘No way!’ Because he was just like super-little.”

Brumley, now an assistant hitting coach for the…

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The dizzying intellect of Tom Glavine

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

source: Getty ImagesArticles about new Hall of Famers probably should not begin with personal stories, but back in 1991, when I was 24 years old, I found myself panicked in the Atlanta Braves clubhouse. Every sportswriter, I suspect, has a story about their first time in a professional clubhouse or locker room. That’s a scary place for a rookie writer. The clubhouse is a place where a writer is allowed but not necessarily welcome, a place where a writer is grudgingly allowed to observe (up to a point), but it is made perfectly clear that the writer does not belong.

Anyway, I was standing there, trying to figure out what to do, and I can only imagine how out of place I looked. The Braves had caught us all by surprise. Back then I worked at The Augusta Chronicle, 120 or so miles away, and the one thing that seemed sure was that…

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The Game within the Game

Originally posted on Our Game:

The Pitcher_cropIn 1987 John Holway and I  published a book titled The Pitcher. It was grandiosely and grotesquely subtitled “The Ultimate Compendium of Pitching Lore: Featuring Flakes and Fruitcakes, Wildmen and Control Artists, Strategies, Deliveries, Statistics, and More.” The book thus appeared to offer a rollicking ride through baseball history, a successor of sorts to my own execrable debut book from 1974, A Century of Baseball Lore. But the current ascendancy of pitching, highlighted wonderfully by Tyler Kepner last week in “Now Pitchers Have the Power,” [http://goo.gl/oklQe7] prompted me to take another look at this tattered old tome–much of it, gratifyingly to me, not half bad. Below, the introductory essay; remember this is from 1987 except for bracketed remarks.

“Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.” —Warren Spahn

Viewed from the bleachers, baseball can seem child’s play, simple, clear, and sweetly pure of intent. Throw and catch, hit and run—these are things we can…

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A sleeve to prevent Tommy John surgery?

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Seems far-fetched, but jeez, you got any better ideas? Will Carroll of Bleacher Report was given an exclusive first look at something that could be revolutionary:

[Joe] Nolan and his company, Motus, a well-known provider of biomechanical analysis from Florida, has created what they very simply call the Motus Pitcher Sleeve. It could be the Holy Grail of pitching . . . The Sleeve, as I will refer to it, looks like a normal compression sleeve. It visually looks no different than the normal Nike or Evoshield sleeves worn by pitchers and other athletes. The only difference is a small sensor near the elbow that contains both accelerometers and gyroscopes similar to those found in modern smartphones and game controllers.

The idea is that it monitors the stress on the UCL giving coaches and trainers invaluable feedback on what’s going down with a pitcher’s elbow.

Carroll has video and background on it all, noting that…

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