Andy Sonnanstine hasn’t pitched at any level of professional baseball since 2011. In the time since, he graduated from college and has been playing a lot of golf, as MLB.com’s Bill Chastain reports.
Taking a cue from former teammate Dan Johnson, who is reinventing himself as a knuckleballer, Sonnanstine is doing the same. The right-hander is throwing 200 knuckleballs per day, six days a week, whether it’s to another person or to a net in his garage. Sonnanstine has solicited advice from Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Steven Wright of the Red Sox, and former pitcher Charlie Hough. He hopes to meet with Tim Wakefield as well.
How much progress has Sonnanstine made? He said, “It’s getting to the point where the movement is there — it’s moving, dancing, darting. I want it to be there 85 percent of the time. It’s probably 45 to 60 percent-ish. That’s good for a guy just fiddling around. But I’m to the point where I’ve gotten just about as far as I can go on my own.”
Over parts of five years in the majors from 2007-11, Sonnanstine — now 33 years old — compiled a 5.26 ERA and a 343/136 K/BB ratio in 540 1/3 innings, all with the Rays.