David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution got to witness the “Nick Swisher During the First Week of Spring Training Experience” the other day. I got that privilege a couple of years ago and, as then, it was just as intense this year. Swisher, no matter what his circumstances and no matter how marginal he may now be to his team’s plans, does not have an “off” switch. He goes to 11 and is cranked there, constantly.
He also does not have an “awareness of cliche” switch, because he dropped the purest, most irony-free BSOML we’ve seen from a ballplayer in a good five years:
“This is kind of the first offseason — I think this is my 14th or 15th spring training and I think for the first time in my life I’m starting to train smart,” Swisher continued. “I know that I can’t take that grind of pounding weights each and every day. So you have to alter your workouts a little bit. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life – on the field, off the field.”
You be you, Nick. Be careful and don’t let your joie de vivre upset your teammates like it did last year. And don’t play long enough or well enough to give the Braves thoughts of letting your 2017 option vest, because no one needs that. But have a nice year all the same.
Sometimes this stuff is just too easy. Still, we greatly appreciate Sean Doolittle cutting to the chase at Athletics’ camp in Mesa, Arizona. It’s a real help.
By the way, Doolittle also changed his Twitter name to “BestShapeOfMyLifeGuy,” so he’s living the gimmick these days.
Doolittle missed the start of last season due to a slight tear in his rotator cuff. The southpaw finally made his season debut in late May, but landed right back on the disabled list after just one appearance. After three months of rehab, Doolittle rejoined the Athletics in late August and posted a 4.26 ERA and 13/5 K/BB ratio over 12 2/3 innings. He looked much better after his first couple of appearances and his velocity wasn’t far off from where it has been in the past. The Athletics added Ryan Madson over the winter, but Doolittle should be the favorite for save chances this season if he’s healthy. And fortunately for the A’s, it sounds like he is.
Jonathan Lucroy had a controversial offseason in which he talked about how maybe it’d be best for him to be traded since the Brewers are rebuilding and losing is a drag. It’s hard to disagree with him, but it’s not the sort of thing players can ever really say without catching a lot of grief. Lucroy caught grief.
This year Lucroy is going to just catch. And, according to this story from Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, he’s going to do it in . . . The Best Shape of His Life:
Lucroy, 29, who has been here since Monday, is in perhaps the best shape of his life after an off-season of rigorous workouts back home in Louisiana with brother David, a pitcher in the Brewers’ farm system. His main goal is to stay healthy and productive after a 2015 season marred by a broken big toe and concussion, with too many hitting slumps in between.
That is the extraordinarily rare straight-up, unadulterated, unfiltered and unironic BSOHL. They were common in the wild until a few years ago but have since become a highly endangered species. How fortunate we are, in 2016, to see one in the wild. In Maryvale of all places.
(h/t to Scott McLune for the heads up)