One of the biggest stories out of Lakeland this spring is the plate resurgence of one Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who has rediscovered his power stroke. Even more shocking/interestingly/stunningly Pudge, with his quite deserved reputation of being the free swingingest of baseball's free swingers, is supposedly working on (GASP!!!) his plate discipline?
Yet, according to the no longer Pudgy one himself, it's true.
"No, I don't think I've had a Spring Training like that as far as home runs," Rodriguez said after Wednesday's power display. "But I don't look for that. It's good, yes. I have six home runs in Spring Training. The main thing about it is I'm just doing what I want to do and just being more selective at the plate, trying to hit some strikes and take the balls.
"I'm just trying to see four to five pitches per at-bat. That's what I'm trying to do. And so far, that's what I'm doing. I'm feeling pretty good about that."
After picking my jaw off the floor, as Pudge hasn't had a 5 pitch at bat since 2003, I began to wonder if his showing patience at the plate was only a temporary thing. Once the regular season starts, would Rodriguez fall back to his tried and true approach when at bat? Being his swinging from the heels at every single pitch of every single at bat of every single season.
In other words, I'll need to see it, to believe it.
I began to ponder what we might see happen, such as Hell freezing over and the Lions winning the Super Bowl, before Pudge walks more than 20 times in a season.
Todd Jones striking out the side.
Todd Jones pitching a 2 inning save.
Todd Jones not allowing a baserunner while getting a save.
Todd Jones not scaring the beejebus out of of the entire Tigers fanbase while getting a save.
Jim Leyland quits smoking.
Magglio Ordonez gets a crew cut.
Joel Zumaya stops getting injured in bizarre, odd and hard to believe ways.
Jeremy Bonderman has a 1-2-3 1st inning.
Placido Polanco's head shrinks 2 hat sizes.
Kenny Rogers stops getting nervous around photographers.
Dontrelle Willis wears stops wearing his cap askew.
Brandon Inge claims he's thrilled to no longer play 3rd base full time.
Brandon Inge tells the Tigers he wants to catch.
Brandon Inge stops going to the media with his complaints that he's no longer starting, and has to catch.
You get my drift. Asking this particular Tiger to change his stripes at the age of 36 is like asking me to lay off Rob Parker. It ain't gonna happen. Pudge will swing on every pitch, and I'll never stop poking holes in everything Wobb writes.
If Pudge Rodriguez scales back his free swinging ways, starts working pitch counts, and ends the season with more than 20 base on balls in 2008, I'll eat my....Well, I'll eat something!