Wanted: pitching coach?
Since Lance Berkman came forward with his desire to become the head coach at the University of Texas after he retires, he’s been besieged by current and former teammates hoping to become his fugure pitching coach. OK, maybe besieged is a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s worth noting that Chris Sampson, Doug Brocail and Scott Linebrink — remember him?– have submitted their verbal resumes to the Puma.
Linebrink sent Berkman a text message declaring his candidacy: “If you end up getting that job, I’d love to be your pitching coach.”
Sampson is already planning for his two sons — C.J., class of 2025, and his not-yet-born son [to be named later], due in August, to play for Puma.
“They’ll both play for Lance, and me,” Sampson said. “I want to be his pitcing coach. I’m going to take some on-line [college] classes so I can get my degree.”
LaTroy Hawkins wants in, too, as the bullpen coach. Colleges don’t necessarily have bullpen coaches, but Puma’s pretty sure he can change that.
My spies tell me right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles, the 38th overall pick in the ’08 draft, is the real deal. Watching from the stands in Lexington, they sent this observation: “Filthy. Nine Ks through 5. Excellent poise and command. This kid is going to be very good.”
Unfortunately for Lyles, the pitcher on the other side of the diamond was better. Charleston’s Hector Noesi threw seven no-hit innings and the Legends were one-hit, losing 3-1.
There are various ways to pass the time in the hours leading up to batting practice on the road. On Wednesday, some players watched the Giants-Nationals game, others played chess, while still others played Connect Four. The competition during Connect Four games can get pretty heated, but that’s standard for professional athletes. They could turn a random act of brushing their teeth into some sort of contest. It’s how they’re wired.
From batting practice in Denver: