When Boston traded for Joey Gathright on Saturday, I’m sure there were a bunch of Red Sox fans saying, “Gathright . . . Gathright . . . why does that name sound familiar?”
And then, perhaps it hits them: He was the Tampa Bay Ray that got into a fight with Julian Tavaras on a play at the plate in 2006.
“It was childish by him,” Gathright told me. “To this day I really don’t know why he swung at me. I slid into home and he was standing on my arm – I was just trying to get up – and as I was getting up he swung . . . swung again . . . swung again and missed. I could have done something back, but Carl Crawford – as fast as he is – got there before I could do anything.”
Tavaras should consider himself lucky. Gathright is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is considered to be among the best athletes in baseball.
If you’re looking for proof, go to YouTube.com and type “Gathright” on the search bar. The first thing that will pop up is this video that shows him jumping over parked cars – from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side.
“That was in ’01 or ’02,” Gathright said. “A friend of mine named Fernando Cortez – he’s still with Tampa Bay – he filmed it. It was in spring training and we were bored that night sitting in the room so he wanted to film something and I didn’t mind jumping for him. That’s how that video came about.”
As I type this, the clip has been viewed 699,574 times on YouTube, but it was not an unusual feat for the 28-year-old outfielder.
“The first time I did it, I was in the 10th grade and I was bored because I was waiting for my mom to pick me up,” Gathright told me. “I really don’t know what made me think about doing it, but I just ran and jumped over my coach’s car. That was the first time and after that, it just kept happening and happening. My coach didn’t like it very much when he found out, but I only missed one time.”
So what happened when he missed?
“I was trying to jump the entire car from back to front,” Joey said, “but I was doing it on grass and I slipped and went through the windshield – I have stitches to prove it. That was my one miss, but I still kept doing it like an idiot. It was fun for awhile and now everybody knows about it.”
Despite his great athleticism, Gathright has only managed a .262 batting average in 428 major league games with Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Chicago (NL). But this year, Joey batted .325 in Triple-A before getting promoted from Pawtucket to Boston after Monday night’s 4-1 loss at Lehigh Valley.
“I grew up and realized what type of hitter I really am,” Gathright said. “I’m not a power guy and I never have been. I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work out for me. You just realize that you’re a fast guy – use your speed, bunt, hit the ball to the left side, and that’s mainly what I told myself in spring training. I only had 14 at-bats with the Cubs this year, but I talked with (Chicago infielder) Ryan Theriot and I give all of the credit to him. He’s the one that told me what I should be doing and how I should go about it. He took me into the cage and showed me a lot, and I owe a lot to him.”
Gathright doesn’t figure to get many at-bats with Boston, but hopes to play a role in helping the Red Sox make the playoffs.
“I’m just a guy off the bench probably,” Joey said. “Play defense every once in a while in the late innings, steal some bases, and score some runs. I’ve done it before and I’m used to that role so it’s something that I think I’ll be able to do. It’s kind of ironic that I got traded here, because Boston is my favorite city to play in and Boston has always been one of my favorite teams to watch.”
Especially now that Julian Tavaras is no longer around.
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Michael Bowden did not get called-up on September 1st, but he is certainly still a strong candidate to eventually receive a September promotion.
Bowden received no decision in Monday’s game, despite allowing just 1 run in 5 IP. For the season, he’s 4-6 with a 3.13 ERA. In his last 8 starts, Bowden is 1-2 despite a 2.80 ERA.
The lack of run support in his starts has been criminal. Here’s a look at what the PawSox have done offensively in Bowden’s 24 starts:
0 runs – 2 times
1 run – 4 times
2 runs – 6 times
3 runs – 3 times
4-or-more runs – 9 times
Michael has had 15 starts this year where he has pitched at least 5 innings and given up 2-or-fewer runs and only has 4 wins. That’s ridiculous.
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The PawSox conclude their brief 5-game road trip on Tuesday night at 7:05. I hope you’ll join us for the radio call beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.