Catching Up With Members of the Birds’ 1996 Bullpen

No word on Manny Alexander and his 67.50 ERA from that season

By Matthew Taylor

Baltimore was the only team that would give me a chance.”

-Esteban Yan, as quoted in The Sun

At this time of year many men dream of performing bunting drills and soft toss with the big leaguers, hitting the cutoff man with their hometown heroes.

Not me. I dream of playing trivial pursuit with Esteban Yan …

“Okay, guys, here’s your question: Name the first American League pitcher since the birth of the designated hitter to hit a home run in his first Major League at bat.”

“Whaddya think Esteban?”

“Uh, that’d be me.”

“Alright, fellas, this one’s for pie. Which two Oriole players were selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the expansion draft?”

“Esteban? Any ideas?”

Me again. And Aaron Ledesma.”

High fives all around ….

My dream Trivial Pursuit pairing with Esteban Yan isn’t likely to happen. However, Yan – the player I best remember as a hard-throwing “guy with potential” in the mold of Armando Benitez – might well wind up on a mound near you, O’s fans.

The 32-year-old’s effort to get back to the bigs after a year in Japan is one of the more intriguing, non-Mitchell Report storylines out of the Birds’ camp this spring.

Among those offering comment are the following: The Washington Post, The (Annapolis) Capital, The Sun, and SI.com. Also check out Camden Chat and Birds in the Belfry.

Kevin Millar also has some fun with Yan on his MLB blog: “I’ve got to say I missed doing the diary last year, and I’d like to get on the record that MLB.com big leagued me. I think they wanted to do the Esteban Yan diary or something. But now I’m back and we’re giving it a second chance.”

Millar offers some interesting comments about rebuilding (“we’ve gotten better … this isn’t a long-term rebuilding process”), Dave Trembley (“How do you not respect this guy?”), and Jay Gibbons (“Why is he one of the only guys suspended?”)

If Yan does make the club here’s hoping he doesn’t ruin that perfect batting average (2-for-2 with the home run in Tampa and a single for the Cardinals in 2003) during Interleague Play.

Two comebackers

Erik Bedard isn’t the only former Bird in Seattle’s camp this spring. Arthur Rhodes, who turns 39 in October, is a non-roster invitee after missing the 2007 season following Tommy John surgery.

USA Today gives the full run-down. More info appears in articles by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, HeraldNet, and TDN.com.

Meanwhile, Alan Mills, who appeared with the Erie SeaWolves in a game last summer against the Bowie Baysox during his comeback attempt, has called it quits. He will serve as pitching coach this season for the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn League.

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About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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