Tag:Nick Hundley
Posted on: June 10, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Playing cat-and-mouse with Reyes and Hundley

The Mets were busy finishing up with San Diego for 2010 during Thursday's day-night doubleheader, which means as Jose Reyes takes his speed game toward the next destination, the cat-and-mouse between him and Padres catcher Nick Hundley will go on hiatus until 2011.

The games-within-the-games are always fascinating, and I bring up Hundley here for one simple reason:

For his career, Reyes was a perfect 22 for 22 in stolen bases until Hundley threw him out at second base in the fifth inning of a game in San Diego on June 1.

"Oh, I didn't know that!" the charismatic Reyes said enthusiastically when I informed him that he had been perfect against the Padres to that point.

Then, he grinned and added: "I think I was safe. I don't even know that he tagged me in time."

What makes Reyes especially dangerous on the bases, Hundley said, is that he's so sneaky.

"He's really quiet," Hundley says. "To me, it looks like he's the same on every pitch.

"That trait is good to have if you're a base stealer. When you're cat-like, you don't give anything away."

Most base-stealers, Hundley said, give something away with their body language. A lean-toward-second here. A hand-movement there.

Reyes doesn't.

"There are some great base-stealers," Hundley said. "[Houston's] Michael Bourn, Reyes. But Reyes, for me, is a little different. He takes a walking lead. There's a little more rhythm. Bourn flat-out burns. Reyes is casual. He'll lull you to sleep."

Reyes said it's something he's worked on for years, and when the Mets brought Rickey Henderson in as a coach a few years ago, that learning process accelerated.

"I try to pick my spots, and I don't want to be too anxious," Reyes said. "If I'm anxious, they'll say, 'He's going to go at one point.' I try to be quiet. I learned that.

"When I was younger, I used to be crazy, like I wanted to go on every pitch."

Reyes led the NL in steals from 2005-2007, but since serious hamstring troubles have plagued him over the past couple of seasons, being quiet and cat-like on the bases is more important than ever to his success rate. And, by definition, to that of the Mets: They're 19-6 when he scores this season, and 267-110 (.708) in games since 2005 when he scores.

"He's smooth, he doesn't force it and he runs in good spots," Hundley said.

And he gives no clues that he may just take off for second or third in the next second.

"If you find a tip," Hundley said, "let me know."

Likes: OK, you healthy people in the crowd, here's PETA's ranking this year of baseball's most vegetarian-friendly ballparks (and it's entertaining that the city best known for Philly cheesesteaks ranks first): 1. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. 2. AT&T Park, San Francisco. 3. Minute Maid Park, Houston. 4. Comerica Park, Detroit. 5. Coors Field, Colorado. ... TBS switching from Phillies-Boston to Nationals-Indians for their Sunday afternoon game of the weeke this weekend. They must really think a lot of rookie Nats reliever Drew Storen. Ah, wait, that's Stephen Strasburg's day to pitch. ... Cardinals rookie third baseman David Freese is a friendly and earnest kid -- and plenty talented. ... Last day of school. ... First day of summer vacation. ... A former Miss America playing Mrs. George Custer for Monroe's celebration of the 100th anniversary of it's lovely Gen. George Armstrong Custer statue.

Dislikes: Just how wacked out are Frank and Jamie McCourt? Answer: Very, very, extremely wacked out.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
"Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
"The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
"Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
"Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
"With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
"Let me forget about today until tomorrow
"Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
"I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
"Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
"In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you"

-- Bob Dylan, Mr. Tambourine Man

 

Posted on: June 2, 2010 7:09 pm
 

Torrealba set to rejoin Padres this weekend

The first-place San Diego Padres, who have been playing this week without one of their catchers, expect Yorvit Torrealba to rejoin them in Philadelphia in time for the beginning of Friday's series, manager Bud Black said Wednesday.

Torrealba was placed on the restricted list earlier this week to enable him to travel to his native Venezuela to testify -- or give a deposition -- against men who kidnapped his son last summer, sources close to the club confirmed. The news was first reported this week by Dan Hayes of the North County (Calif.) Times.

The Padres have not said why Torrealba left, calling it a personal matter. But this spring, he said two of his son's five kidnappers had been arrested.

Eduardo, his then-11-year-old son, was kidnapped by five men in Venezuela last summer and held for a $500,000 ransom over a 48-hour period. Torrealba, who took leave of the Colorado Rockies for roughly a month during the crisis, since has moved his family to Miami.

In Torrealba's absence, Nick Hundley, the other half of the Padres' regular catching tandem, has played every day and, entering Wednesday's series finale against the Mets, was hitting .750 (9 for 12) with one double, one triple, one home run, seven RBI and four runs scored over his past four games.

Torrealba, in his first season with the Padres, has been instrumental in San Diego's rousing start. He's hitting .287 with 14 RBI in 27 games and winning raves for his work behind the plate.

Black, who declined comment on the nature of Torrealba's personal matter, said he expects the catcher to join the Padres when they arrive in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Posted on: June 24, 2009 10:47 pm
 

Word of advice on foul balls: Duck

OK, now. Let's see. To write and post a blog. ...

How does this computer thing work again?

Forgive me if I seem a little tentative. See, I've been without my laptop for the past week or so. It was blasted by a foul ball while I was working in San Diego's Petco Park last Wednesday, sending it immediately to the disabled list and me scrambling.

Ah, the joys -- and hazards -- of making your living as a baseball writer.

San Diego catcher Nick Hundley was the culprit. He sliced a foul ball against Seattle that came rocketing straight back toward the press box at warp speed. I mean, it was screaming.

I saw the ball whistling straight at me, so I did what pretty much anybody from a working stiff to a fourth grader would do in the computer age: I immediately risked life and limb to protect the doggone laptop.

You were thinking, "Duck"?

Or, perhaps, "Try and catch it, dummy"?

No dice on either of those.

What I did was wrap my right arm in front of the laptop, positioning myself to block the ball from making a crash landing. The plan, devised in, oh, a split-second, was to knock the ball down with my hand.

Result?

It was sort of like Texas catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia attempting to corral Jason Jennings' sinker with the Giants' Nate Schierholz on third base and the score tied in the 11th inning in San Francisco on Saturday night. Wild pitch, Schierholz scored, game over.

The ball was sinking so quickly I didn't get my hand down in time. I missed. The baseball smashed into the back of the computer screen. Game over.

In this case, E-W didn't mean the magazine Entertainment Weekly. No, it was E-Writer. Though several colleagues sitting near me in the press box enthusiastically commented on what a good thing it was that I did miss, otherwise I may have a broken hand.

Instead, it was just the laptop screen.

Fortunately, the hard drive stuff was fine. And my friend Tim lent me a monitor, which, when plugged into my laptop, at least allowed me to see stuff on that screen.

The Dell technician came by the house on Tuesday and installed a new screen, and 15 minutes later, presto. I was portable again. I can actually bring my laptop with me to the ballpark and work there. What a thing.

I'm telling you, it was six harrowing days.

Meantime, two days after the, uh, incident, the Padres placed Hundley on the disabled list with a bruised wrist.

They couldn't have done that 48 hours earlier?

Likes:
Glad to see Jim Tracy get another chance to manage. After the way things ended for him in Pittsburgh, you bet he's thrilled to get another opportunity in Colorado. ... Love to see the way Juan Pierre, one of the best and hardest-working guys around, has taken advantage of the absence of Manny Ramirez. ... Blueberries in the summer. There are few better things. ... Caught up with a rash of music-related DVDs lately and highly recommend Neil Young's Heart of Gold, the Jonathan Demme-directed concert video shot at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. . ... Also enjoyed I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, the documentary tracking the band Wilco through the making of its classic disc, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Very interesting behind-the-scenes stuff regarding how a band writes songs, puts an album together and then deals with record companies.

Dislikes: The Manny Ramirez circus in Albuquerque. Good for the baseball fans in that city that they get to see a superstar in person. And when he returns to the Dodgers, I'm sure I'll be writing plenty about it. But though I considered flying to Albuquerque for Manny's games there this week, I'll be damned if I'm going to join the circus and feed the hype before I have to.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"There's bourbon on the breath
of the singer you love so much
He takes all his words from the books
that you don't read anyway"

-- Wilco, Poor Places

 
 
 
 
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