They say if you're left handed and you have a pulse, there's always a job for you in the majors. And that seems to be the case for former Cardinals southpaw Tony Fossas.
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No, the 52-year-old Fossas isn't trying to make a comeback as a hurler. He looked more than a little over the hill when he last pitched in the majors for the Yankees in 1999. He appeared in five games for a combined total of one inning, allowing six hits and four earned runs.
Instead, the Cuban born Fossas has resurfaced as the translator and mentor for sensational lefty Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman who made an eye popping spring training debut yesterday against the Royals.
According to a report on AOL Fanhouse, one radar gun clocked Chapman's fastball at 102 MPH. He also threw a change up that clocked in at 80 MPH and mixed in a pair of nasty sliders, too.
In two innings of work, Chapman gave up one hit and a walk. He struck out four. The guy that got the safety, David DeJesus, said he wasn't impressed with Chapman's arsenal despite the radar gun fireworks.
"He's human. It was easy to see Chapman's pitches," DeJesus told Fanhouse. "It's a straight fastball. He threw a little slider and then a big slider."
Fossas dismissed the thought that DeJesus -- or anyone else -- saw Chapman's best stuff during his first outing of the spring. Learning to pitch in the majors is easy, Fossas said, after what Chapman went through defecting from his home country.
"I think, for him, it's a piece of cake," Fossas said. "He's very bright. Very smart. He's a workaholic."
Former Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty shocked the baseball world over the winter when he outbid the major market clubs and awarded Chapman a $30 million free agent contract to pitch for Cincinnati.
Although the signing is a risky move. It's the sort of gamble a small market GM has to make when he can't afford to compete with the big boys for established major league hurlers. And. if nothing else, Chapman will create some much needed excitement for the Reds. I hate to root for competitors in the Cardinals division. But it would be in the best interests of baseball to see Chapman succeed and become a star.