Can one man be the Phillies’ feel-good story of Spring Training two different years?
This preseason, we’ll find out, because Michael Stutes is back and hair-wavier than ever. More importantly, the part of him that throws the baseballs is in the kind of shape that allows to throw baseballs.
Two years ago, we couldn’t STOP talking about Michael Stutes. “Michael Stutes!” we’d say. “That sounds like a name a person would have!”
And he had it; oh did he have it. Beat writers lavished over the former 24-year-old, calling him “adjectives,” and “the occasional metaphoric noun.” He made the team in 2011, and became part of the greatest bullpen to in the history of having surprisingly competent first halves of the Phillies’ best season ever.
Then, like most things we like in Philadelphia, he went away. But unlike flash mobs and corruption, he didn’t come back weeks later. He was out for all of 2012. And we missed him.
Every time a Marlin or an Astro smacked a seventh inning double off a Rosenberg or a Schwimer or a Diekman, we would think, “Where is Michael?! At least with him, we’d get to see that wavy hair bounce as he lurched his head around to watch a double land in the gap.”
Well, the effective reliever is back, solidifying the Phillies hopefully improved bullpen. Now 26, he has been pitching since September, and has nothing but a small wound on his shoulder, reminding him of… whatever he did after disappearing mysteriously and coming back with a “new shoulder.” Which offers advantages of its own.
“Now, not only is his velocity back to its normal level, he said he feels like he has a little extra juice on the pitch.”
If that isn’t an admission that there is some formerly strong hobo out there who woke up in a bath tub without one of his shoulders and a handsomely written note, than maybe we’ll never get one and I am crazy. I did mention hair a lot just now in this article about baseball.
Stutes would be a great addition, floating that gap between “proven veteran” and “oh god; this guy?! **chugs cough medicine.**”