It’s not likely that any of you care about J.R. House. Nor should you be expected to I suppose. He had a grand total of 63 major league plate appearances with a line of .167/.206/.367 for three teams. He had a much more respectable .302/.363/.475 in 3886 plate appearances in ten minor league seasons, mostly in the Pirates organization.
But he’s a West Virginia boy, as I consider myself to be, so I’ve always paid attention to whatever it was he was doing for the past decade or so. I never had any illusions that he was gonna make a big splash, but I always kind of hoped he’d make it. According to a story in today’s Charleston Gazette, however, he hasn’t gotten a call to be anyone’s organizational soldier this winter, so it’s quite possible that he’s staring a coaching career in the face.
Frank Thomas. J.R. House. And so it goes.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.