SURPRISE, Ariz. -- So what, exactly, was Sidney Ponson doing throwing two scoreless innings deep in Texas' 5-4 Cactus League victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday and behaving as, dare we say it, a real, live major league pitcher?
First, let's get the automatic chuckle out of the way with Sir Sidney (hey, he was knighted in his native Aruba).
"You look like you're in pretty good shape," I told the notoriously hefty Ponson -- in all seriousness -- when I saw him before Wednesday's game.
His replay was classic: "I thought so, too, until I weighed in today. That was a little disappointing."
Last week, Ponson said, he was at 250 pounds and happy.
Upon stepping on the scale here Wednesday morning, he said he was "255, 256."
"I don't know why. Altitude?" he joked. "I'm just worried about throwing today, getting people out."
He did that, too. Faced the minimum six batters over two innings, walking one and fanning another.
He's not exactly a lock to make this team -- he just signed a few days ago, and arrived here on Sunday -- but he's certainly in the right place. Last time Texas had any pitching, they were defending The Alamo down in San Antonio. Or something like that.
He went home to Florida last May, took a couple of months off and then started working out again. He pitched a bit in the Dominican winter league, making three starts.
Though it seems as if he's been around forever, he's just 31. "I'm still pretty young," he says. "I'm a young veteran."
If this latest comeback road takes him back to Triple-A for awhile, he says, "I'm fine with that. I just want to get back to the big leagues."
Rangers starters last season combined to pitch the fewest innings of any rotation in the majors. There is a definite need here. And, conversely, if Sir Sidney can't hang on here -- whatever his weight -- then, well, maybe it will be time to remove the "Sir" from his title.
Likes: Nice complex in Surprise that the Rangers and Royals share, but how anybody ever thought to build anything out there in that part of the desert, I'd love to hear the explanation. ... I could do without his tattoos, but Josh Hamilton's is the kind of story you can't help rooting for. ... Tampa Bay at Yankees April 4-5-6-7, the first weekend of the regular season. Boxing gloves, anyone? ... Gov. Eliot Spitzer jokes. ... Make that former Governor. ... New Texas president Nolan Ryan's reply when general manager Jon Daniels asked how he dealt with the heat when he pitched for the Rangers: Ryan told Daniels that, on any given night, his goal was to last longer in the game than the opposing starting pitcher. ... This dry bit of humor from Bob Dylan on XM's Theme Time Radio Hour on Wednesday's program, with birds as the theme: "The average wingspan of a duck is 27 inches. Though if you own one and its wingspan is a little less, don't be concerned." ... Dairy Queen drive-thrus.
Dislikes: Cell phone batteries that don't last as long as they should.
Sunblock day? Yep. Perfect. Not too hot, but a warm upper-70s with a bright sun.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
"My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
"Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
"'Til then I'll walk alone"
-- Green Day, Boulevard of Broken Dreams