Since there’s not a whole lot going on in big league camp right now, at least until exhibition games begin on Monday, I can’t help but pass along this delightful story from Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA on Dodger batboy Francisco “Chico” Herrera:
That story begins six months ago during a batting practice at Dodger Stadium. For years, Dodgers players have commented to him that he had a good arm or made some good, athletic plays while they were shagging fly balls during batting practice. Herrera took the compliments in stride. He’d been the best player on his team at Hollywood High and was now the starting shortstop at Valley College in North Hollywood. But what did that matter out here on a big league diamond?
This time one Dodger went a step further.
“Jon Garland and I were playing catch in the outfield,” Herrera said. “He was hurting at the time, but he could still play catch and he’s like, ‘You really do have a good arm. When are you going to try out?’”
And try out he did, as one of what Eric Stephen reports was a record 125 people at the annual open tryout at Camelback Ranch today. You’ll never hear of 99% of those names, and with good reason, though there were a few players with some professional experience: Dylan Hernandez reports that former Rangers righty Wes Littleton (21 games with Texas between 2006-08) and Giants catching prospect Todd Jennings were present, as well as 28-year-old Japanese righty Hiroki Sanada, who was posted earlier this offseason with no bids. In addition, 13-year vet Doug Davis was there along with Jarrad Page, a seven-year veteran of the NFL who was an outfielder with UCLA before heading to the NFL. Jackson reports that there’s likely to be one signing (perhaps two), though of course that would just be to a zero-risk minor-league deal, much like Randy Keisler last year. If so, Davis is probably the best bet, despite his 1-7, 6.50 showing for the Cubs last year.