THE NEWBERG REPORT — MARCH 30, 2006
I got home from work yesterday and was exhausted. Sprawled onto the couch for a few minutes. Shut my eyes. Erica stood nearby, telling me about her day, and Max was chattering away (probably something about trucks or jets or "Boppis," his chosen name for our dog Pocus). It was as relaxed as I’d been all day.
And then I felt a sledgehammer crunch down just above my right eye.
It was painful. With my eyes still closed, I asked Erica what just happened, and she said Max threw a ball and it hit my head.
Kid’s got a heck of an arm.
(In retrospect, my biggest regret is that I didn’t actually see him throw it –- because I still haven’t figured out if he’s a righty or a southpaw.)
It was a minute or two before I decided to open my eyes. And next to me, on the couch, was a plastic baseball, from Max’s T-Ball set. I couldn’t believe that’s what our 19-month-old had just clobbered my forehead with.
It was the second time yesterday that a perfectly calm moment was interrupted by a kick to the gut.
About four hours earlier, I’d heard that Adam Eaton exited his final exhibition tune-up four outs in, complaining that he couldn’t grip the ball due to pain in his right middle finger, the same one in which a strained tendon cost him a third of the 2005 season.
That news came an hour or two after the Rangers had finalized their rotation plans, giving the fifth spot to R.A. Dickey, optioning both Juan Dominguez and Edinson Volquez to Oklahoma.
And now, it seems, at least to begin the season, Dickey is the number four starter. Eaton is surely headed to the disabled list.
A month ago, Josh Rupe was the frontrunner for the final spot in the rotation. Got hurt. Dominguez was probably next in line, and he was erratic. Volquez was good early, not so good late. John Wasdin was drummed, and got released. John Danks pitched well but isn’t even 21, and he shouldn’t be rushed. C.J. Wilson never got untracked, due to a series of minor ailments, and he landed on the DL yesterday as well.
Dickey’s knuckleball came on as camp progressed, and his track record of answering the call of duty with the Rangers (“posting up,” Buck Showalter likes to call it) was probably as big a factor as any in the club’s decision to entrust to him the irregular role of fifth starter.
Thankfully, for the first time in years, Texas went into camp with only one rotation spot to sort out. But now, with a few days to go before Boston comes to town, it has become two.
I still have a headache.