June 2011

The Power Of A Lucky Haircut…And Keep Both Hands On The Wheel

I wish I still had hair.  Just so that I could have it cut by PawSox relief pitcher Clevelan Santeliz.

 

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

It’s not uncommon for baseball players to give haircuts in the clubhouse.  When I hosted the Cincinnati Reds pre-game show on Fox Sports Ohio, pitcher Ramon Ortiz was the team’s resident barber, so I had him give me a trim on TV.

Ortiz owned a couple of barber shops back home in the Dominican Republic and did nice work, but as far as I can remember, his haircuts weren’t considered lucky.

That’s where he differs from Clevelan Santeliz.

On Sunday, Ronald Bermudez went 3-for-4 including his first home run and Che-Hsuan Lin had a single and a double.  Before the game, each of them got a haircut from Santeliz. 

“Early in the afternoon Bermudez asked if anybody gave haircuts,” Santeliz told me.  “I said, ‘Yea, I always cut hair.’  But it was a lie – I’ve never given a haircut in my life.  So I cut his hair and then Lin said, ‘Hey, can you cut my hair too?’  So I did.  When I was done, Che-Hsuan said, ‘This looks ugly!’  So I said, ‘But you’ll get two base hits today, and Bermudez will hit a home run today because of my haircut.’  Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened in the game.”

PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler confirmed the sequence of events and said that Santeliz reminded him that his haircut would mean a home run for Bermudez moments before the 22-year-old outfielder went deep.

“I told Arnie, ‘He’s about to hit a bomb because I cut his hair today,’” Santeliz said.  “As soon as he hit it, Arnie looked at me with a big grin and I said, ‘See, I told you!’”

So here’s the obvious question:  Were the other players lined up at Santeliz’s locker looking for a haircut the next day? 

“Nobody has asked me for one,” Santeliz said with a laugh.  “Despite my magic powers, they know that I’m terrible at cutting hair.  Lin is still crying about it.  He keeps saying, ‘I look horrible.’  I told him, ‘You look good because you got two base hits.’” 

* * * * *

Baseball history is loaded with tales of bizarre injuries.

Glenallen Hill earned the nickname “Spiderman” when he had a nightmare about spiders and injured himself when he bolted out of bed and tripped over a glass table.

PawSox legend Wade Boggs once hurt his back while pulling on a pair of cowboy boots and former Pawtucket pitcher John Smoltz allegedly burned his chest while ironing a shirt.  As the story goes, Smoltz was wearing the shirt at the time.

Now we can add Randy Williams to the list.

 

The 35-year-old relief pitcher has only appeared in two games for Pawtucket this year due to a shoulder injury that he aggravated while driving north from Ft.Myers at the end of spring training.

“The very first time that I felt anything was the second-to-last outing in spring training, but I didn’t really think too much of it until I was driving up here,” Williams said.  “It was a long drive and I always seem to leave my left arm up on the steering wheel when I drive. After that, I felt it aching when I was doing nothing and that’s when I started to get a little concerned about it. After I came here and threw a couple of times before the season started, it got progressively worse and I knew it wasn’t a good idea to keep trying to throw through it.”

The veteran lefty who has appeared in 90 major league games, started the year on Pawtucket’s disabled list before being activated on April 30th.  But after making two scoreless appearances, Williams went back on the DL on May 3rd.

Now Randy appears ready to return to the active roster after pitching in a pair of simulated games in the last week.

“I feel like I’m ready,” Williams said.  “It’s more of a mental thing right now than a physical thing.  I have to be able to go out there and not have it in the back of my mind.  I’ve had that itch [to get back onto the field] for a long time.  Luckily my personality is one where I can stay loose and have a good time.  My career has not been a typical career… up, down, left, right, it goes everywhere.  But I obviously don’t play this game to be a Hall of Famer or to get my ten years in because I’d be really old if that happened.  It’s just that feeling you get on the mound – that adrenaline rush is one of the main reasons I play the game.  So I just have to sit day-in and day-out and watch these guys do it.  I just miss that adrenaline rush I get when I get out there.”

In the meantime, let’s hope that Williams is careful when he’s driving.  Perhaps he should remember what we all learned in driver’s education class:  Keep your hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel.

“I’m not really a believer in 10-and-2.  I’m more of a 12-and-nothing driver where one hand is up on the wheel and the other hand is chilling,” Williams said with a grin.  “If I had listened to my driver’s ed instructor, both of my shoulders would be sore right now.”

* * * * *

The PawSox pulled off one of their most thrilling wins of the season on Tuesday night, beating Norfolk 5-4 in 11 innings.

Pawtucket trailed 4-3 going to the bottom of the 11th inning before Daniel Nava’s first home run of the season tied the game.  A 2-out, RBI single by Tony Thomas gave the PawSox the walk-off win.

 

John Lackey looked terrific in his rehab start, allowing 1 ER in 5.2 IP with no walks and 4 strikeouts.  But it should be pointed out that Norfolk came out hacking and didn’t make him work very hard.  Six of the 20 batters that Lackey faced, put his first pitch in play.  It’s hard to imagine that happening in a big league game.

Three of the first six games on the current homestand have been started by former major league All-Stars (Bobby Jenks twice, and Lackey) and Kevin Millwood will increase that total to four when he makes his first Pawtucket start on Wednesday night.  Here are some nuggets about Millwood that I’ve prepared for tonight’s game notes.

► Expected to make his PawSox debut.  Signed to a minor league contract by Bostonon May 19th, after opting out of his minor league deal with the New York Yankees on May 1st.

► Made 3 minor league starts in the Yankees organization in April, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 1 start for Double-A Trenton (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) and 1-1 with a 8.00 ERA in 2 starts for Triple-A Scranton/WB (9 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 7 K).

► Was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts for Baltimore last year.

► Is 159-137 with a 4.11 ERA in 414 MLB games (406 starts) for Atlanta (1997-2002), Philadelphia (2003-04), Cleveland (2005), Texas (2006-09), and Baltimore (2010).

► Pitched a scoreless inning for the National League in the 1999 All-Star Game at FenwayPark.

► Led the American League with a 2.86 ERA for Cleveland in 2005.

► Threw a no-hitter for Philadelphia vs. San Francisco on April 27, 2003.

► Started Game 2 of the 1999 World Series for Atlanta vs. the New York Yankees.

► Originally selected by Atlanta in the 11th round of the 1993 draft.

► Millwood, 36, is in his 19th professional season and first year in the Red Sox organization after signing as a minor league free agent on May 19, 2011.

Don’t forget, Wednesday’s start time has been moved up to 6:05 to allow fans to watch Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  If you wear Bruins gear to McCoy Stadium, you can buy a ticket and get one for free.  The hockey game will be shown on the video board when the PawSox game is finished and food and drink will be available at the concession stands.

If you can’t make it out to the ballpark, I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

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