Michael Stutes is just glad to be alive.
Look at him out there; hair flowing in the warm Florida breeze, strutting about the pitcher’s mound with a relaxed work ethic. You wouldn’t know it, but Stutes has spent the winter at odds with his arch nemesis.
Stutes didn’t see much of 2012 after being the spring training golden boy of 2011 and a bullpen darling alongside Antonio Bastardo. His right shoulder issues ended his season in late April, and probably cost us some runs we didn’t deserve. Without an irritating injury to worry about, he’s had his head clear to make a concentrated effort to make the team.
He’d had suspicions prior to the disabled list about his body betraying him. Every itch and twitch had him eyeying the should with increased intensity, almost fully aware it was plotting against him.
“I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO,” he never shrieked at his own shoulder in the middle of a team meeting, but you can definitely imagine it happening.
Now, he remains weary of the shoulder’s antics, but confidence it has learned its lesson. Neither one of them wants a second extended stay in Florida. After spring training, it turns back into a smelly old people parking lot.
Rich Dubee has had nothing but splendid things to say about Stutes; that he’s throwing the ball from a sharper downward angle, that doing this will make him a more effective pitcher. But of course, anything Dubee says can be squinted at with suspicion as well. That guy has proven he’s willing to concoct falsehoods until he tastes blood. It’d be easy to picture him having a hard time sleeping at night, but he probably just lies to himself and says he’s a good person with a clean conscience.
But Stutes is still around, Dubee’s opinion aside, and the bullpen spots are down to three with six guys contending. As long as he and his shoulder remain on good terms, things could turn out okay for the 26-year-old.
Ruling out any sudden betrayals.