20120327 Wes Timmons東京巨蛋賽前練習
(Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
Josh Donaldson原訂為正選三壘，但打擊方面表現地實在太掙扎 (防守也不夠穩定，9場3失誤)，近日呈現與Eric Sogard兩人platoon的態勢。
Donaldson (R) 32AB .094/.094/.094，13K 0BB
Sogard (L) 30AB .167/.265/.300，1HR 6K 4BB
目前3A沙加緬度河貓的主力三壘手是09年第五輪的Stephen Parker，24歲，右投左打。46AB .261/.410/.370, 1HR 11K 11BB。問題比較大的是防守 (16場4E)，再加上要找個右打上來換掉Donaldson，Parker也不在40人名單內，暫不考慮。
三壘手出身的Wes Timmons (33歲，右投右打)，今年春訓守二三壘，未能實際進入"開幕三壘手爭奪戰"的決賽。本季3A 12場出賽守過一二三壘 (出賽數分別為2-8-3)，沒有失誤紀錄。近日他與同樣來自勇士系統的Brandon Hicks (26歲，右投右打)兩人platoon二壘。
Timmons 44AB .136/.264/.159，2K 6BB
Hicks 48AB .146/.226/.250，1HR 18K 4BB
Rosales 59AB .288/.311/.424， 12K 2BB
即便Timmons 3A開季陷入低潮，仍可以看到他選球方面的能力還在，雖然現階段數字不理想，但回顧Timmons小聯盟生涯10年皆維持著水準以上的上壘率。Rosales目前打擊成績最好，但Rosales在三壘的防守表現並不是相當理想。Rosty與Hicks都是游擊底，Timmons是這三人當中防守3B相對有經驗者 (Rosales與Hicks在大小聯盟分別共守過157場與29場三壘，Timmons於小聯盟共守過756場三壘)。
原先最大的問題是Timmons不在40人名單之內、機會來臨時自己卻沒有讓自己處在絕佳狀態。現在，多了一個問題，A's從雙城的waivers撿了 (claim)內野手Luke Hughes (小聯盟守了378場三壘、大聯盟16場)
以下是今年3月下旬Joe Lemire於Sports Illustrated (運動畫刊)撰寫Wes Timmons的故事
Timmons, real-life Crash Davis, may finally get Hollywood ending
Wes Timmons，真實生活裡的Crash Davis，最終可能得到一個好萊塢式的結局
Wes Timmons is a career minor leaguer who is hoping to make the A's roster
Timmons' career resmebles that of the fictional 'Bull Durham' character
Timmons的生涯就像由Bull Durham (百萬金臂)中杜撰的角色組成
Oakland needs infield help but Timmons hasn't made the 25-man roster just yet
PHOENIX -- Wes Timmons thought it was another march to the baseball gallows.
鳳凰城 – Wes Timmons認為那是另一次邁向棒球的絞架。
Eight of his A's teammates had already been cut from big-league camp in the previous 24 hours, so when he received a summons to the manager's office, Timmons figured he shared their fate.
"I just assumed it was that time," he said.
Timmons is, after all, a 33-year-old infielder -- and elementary-school substitute teacher -- who has played 998 minor league games in his 10-year pro career and hasn't spent a single day in the big leagues. Not as a doubleheader fill-in, not as a September call-up and, until last year, not even as an invitee to a major league club's spring training camp.
Timmons是個33歲的內野手，也是一位小學代課老師。他10年的職業生涯裡打過998場小聯盟比賽 (譯註: 目前來到1011場)，並未有任何一天在大聯盟。沒有在雙重賽補進陣容過、沒有在九月被叫上大聯盟過，直到去年，甚至沒有大聯盟球隊要邀請他參加春訓。
He entered Bob Melvin's office and took a seat. The manager read Timmons some of his spring statistics -- which, at the time, included a .323 average (10-for-31) with four walks and a .405 on-base percentage, though just one extra-base hit, a double -- and the two discussed how the spring had gone.
他進入Bob Melvin的辦公室，坐下。總教練看了Timmons一部分的春訓統計數字--包括打擊率.323 (10-for-31)，四個保送及.405上壘率，雖然只有一支長打，那是支二壘安打--兩人討論著春訓內容。
Then Melvin asked a curious question, "How's your Japanese?"
Timmons burst into a smile, as the realization dawned on him that he'd be joining the A's for their season-opening trip to play the Mariners in Japan. "I am more than willing to learn," he replied.
Two games shy of 1,000 in the minors, Timmons is on the verge of shedding the label of "real-life Crash Davis," the frequent joke he's heard the last few years, even if the fictional character in the movie Bull Durham at least had a cup of coffee in the big leagues.
距離1000場小聯盟出賽只差兩場，Timmons即將擺脫”真人版Crash Davis”的標籤，最近幾年他常常聽到這個笑話，即便在電影Bull Durham裡的虛構人物最多只有在大聯盟喝了一杯咖啡。
"Minor league baseball has changed a lot since then," he said, "but when you watch the movie, I'm like, 'Well, that kind of fits, I guess.'"
Every profession has its rites of passage, but few entail such celebrated bumps in the road as being a minor league ballplayer, for whom perseverance is defined by a series of incalculably long bus rides through mid-sized minor league cities.
There are the eight-hour bus trips that are actually better than the alternative: when the bus breaks down along a scorched Southern highway, as happened to Timmons years ago.
八個小時的巴士之旅與Timmons多年前經歷過的比起來好多了: 當年巴士在烤焦的南方公路故障。(譯註: 之前寫的這篇有提到)
There are the days the motel's hot water runs dry. There's the hotel in Savannah, Ga., whose air conditioning fails on a 100-degree afternoon. And plenty more.
"We could talk for hours," Timmons said, shaking his head at the memories.
None stand out more than the day the outfield wall caught on fire.
Ivy had grown along the wooden fence during the offseason at the home ballpark of the Mexican Pacific League's Mayos de Navojoa, and on the winter league's opening day in late 2010 the greenery went ablaze with red and orange flames.
墨西哥聯盟休季期間，常春藤沿著Mayos de Navojo主球場的木製籬笆長著，在2010年冬季聯盟開幕日，綠色植物著火了，帶著紅色與橙色的火焰。
"For whatever reason the fans thought it'd be cool to set the ivy on fire," Timmons recalled. Play was stopped for half and hour -- on two separate occasions -- and the fire burned a hole in the fence. "We finished the game with part of the centerfield wall not being there," he said.
Those incendiary delays weren't even the worst part of his stay. In the second week of the season a fastball struck Timmons on the left arm. The club took him to get an x-ray -- at a dentist's office. "So that was fun," he said with a wry smile.
There, the diagnosis of a fracture was confirmed and Timmons received an oversized cast that ensconced most of his left arm, from his wrist up past his elbow. (Back in the States, he received a more suitably sized cast for his forearm.)
He also noted that such minor league travails grow less outlandish in the higher levels of the minor leagues. Besides, other than seven weeks last season, Timmons hadn't been below Triple A since 2006. He has been a man stuck in baseball limbo.
* * *
Just last week Timmons sounded like a man beginning to accept his baseball destiny -- that a major league promotion may never come.
"That's the road God has chosen for me, man," he said then. "That's who I am, just kind of hanging around. If it comes, it comes. If not, you know, I've had a great career up to this point. I don't really have a whole lot of regrets on the field."
Timmons, a utility infielder who has primarily played third base in his career, is coming off his best season, batting .341 with a .420 on-base percentage in 95 games split between Double A and Triple A in 2011. His lack of power -- he's never hit more than eight homers in a season -- is a detriment when compared to the prototypical third baseman, but his versatility in playing every infield position helps.
"It's hard to get the guy out," Oakland assistant general manager David Forst said. "He's played himself into the conversation, very much so."
The A's were in need of extra infield help after projected starting third baseman Scott Sizemore tore his ACL early in camp. But roster decisions aren't always linear; one injury doesn't necessarily bump everyone up one spot on the depth chart.
Though the A's will need to whittle the roster down to 25 players for the rest of the season, they will travel with 30 to Japan and will designate 25 players to dress before the two games with the Mariners.
A’s將需要把陣容削減到25名選手來進行剩餘球季，他們會帶30人去日本，並在對水手的兩場比賽前調整到25人 (譯註: 此處應指回到美國的那兩場，因日本開幕系列戰可允許28人)。
"He's played well enough that he deserves to go," Melvin said. "He should be proud of that."
“他表現地相當好，他去 (日本)是理所當然的。”Melvin說 “他應為此 (自己的表現)感到驕傲。”
Timmons' situation is complicated by not being on the 40-man roster, which means that, not only does he need to be good enough to make the club, he needs to sufficiently outplay the competition that the club is willing to remove another player. Making this trip to Japan does not guarantee placement on the 40-man.
If he does eventually make Oakland's 25-man roster, he'd be the oldest position player on the rebuilding club; only pitchers Grant Balfour, Bartolo Colon and Brian Fuentes are older.
若他最終進入奧克蘭正式名單，他會是這支重建中的球隊裡最老的野手 (譯註: 執行禁賽中的Manny更老，但他尚未正式披上運動家球衣)；投手部份只有Grant Balfour, Bartolo Colon與Brian Fuentes比他老。
"He's veteran-minded, but he's still got that youthfulness where you don't really expect that he's been in the game that long," said second baseman Jemile Weeks, the 25-year-old starter who lockers next to Timmons. "He'll give you the impression that everything's fine and dandy. He's not a complaining type. He acts like he's just getting started, and he's happy to be here."
“他有老將的頭腦，但仍十分青春有勁，你/妳料想不到他已經在球場中打這麼久了”25歲，置物櫃在Timmons隔壁的二壘手Jemile Weeks說。”他給人的印象是各方面都很好、很紳士。他不是那種愛抱怨的類型。他表現地像是他剛起步，他很開心來到這裡 (指春訓)”
* * *
Each of the past few winters Timmons has huddled with his wife, Randi, in their Jacksonville, Fla., home and deliberated whether it would be best for him to retire or to trudge ahead with his major league dream at the expense of time and distance away from his family, which includes two daughters -- Kallyn, who is almost six years old, and Irelyn, who is three.
"So we weighed the pros and cons of coming back, and God willing and my wife being so wonderful, I'm playing again," he said. "Would I rather be working 9 to 5 or playing a kid's game? I've gotten to the point in my career where the money has gotten a little bit better, and there are just not a lot of jobs in this world that are better than what I'm doing."
“所以我們衡量回到賽場的正反意見，上帝的旨意以及我太太是如此地棒，我再度回到球場”他說 “我會寧願朝九晚五工作或者playing a kid's game (不曉得指的是不是帶小朋友打球)嗎? 我的職業生涯走到這個階段，可以賺到多一些些的錢，世上沒有太多工作比我現在正從事的更好。”
Modern technology makes the separation from his family almost bearable -- "If it weren't for Skype or FaceTime, I don't know how anybody ever did this," he said -- but he knows he's missing out.
Also, minor league salaries are a pittance compared with even the major league minimum of $480,000. The salaries for even veteran minor league free agents can be less than $20,000 for a season; only a handful of players make more than $100,000. Most make something in between, including Timmons (the exact terms of his deal were not disclosed).
Timmons has his degree in physical education -- he began college at Appalachian State and later transferred to Bethune-Cookman -- and spends his winters as a substitute teacher at Chets Creek Elementary School, where his wife and mother teach fulltime.
Timmons具備體育學系學位--一開始唸Appalachian State大學，後來轉到Bethune-Cookman大學--多個冬天在Chets Creek 小學擔任代課老師，他老婆以及母親是那所學校的正式教師。(譯註: Chets Creek Elementary School 就在 Timmons他們住的Jacksonville市)
"Any subject you can think of, kindergarten through fifth grade," he said. "Some of the students follow [my baseball stats], and some of them make fun of me because I don't hit a lot of home runs. I get it from all ends of the spectrum."
Taped above Timmons' locker at Phoenix Municipal Stadium is a baseball card of Chipper Jones. A mischievous teammate placed it there, a regular reminder of Timmons' stunted progress.
The Braves drafted Timmons in the 12th round in 2002, and Timmons advanced at a typical pace through the minors, reaching Triple A for the first time three years later, only to be blocked from the major leagues in a way few recent players -- a Yankees shortstop prospect, for instance -- could appreciate.
勇士隊在2002年第12輪選了Timmons，依既有的步調在小聯盟系統進階，三年後首次升到3A，大概只有少數同樣被大聯盟球員卡在前面的選手才能體會，舉例來說，一位洋基隊的游擊新秀 (譯註: 從1995年開始Chipper Jones是勇士三壘的不二人選，洋基游擊則從1996年開始交由Derek Jeter把關)。
"These guys clown me over here a lot," Timmons said of his A's teammates, "because I happened to play third base over there [with the Braves], and we all know who's their soon-to-be Hall of Fame third baseman."
Timmons said he never had a formal invite to Braves major league camp and only played sparingly in spring games as a backup. He figures he got nine at bats in three years, meaning he often had some time to kill on the dugout bench.
Outgoing and gregarious, Timmons figured he might as well pass the time in conversation and ultimately learned a lot from Jones' predecessor at the position, Terry Pendleton, who for most of the past decade served as Atlanta's hitting coach.
外向且善於社交的個性使然，Timmons指出他在談話中度過那些 (春訓的)日子，從Jones上一位的三壘手Terry Pendleton那學到很多，Pendleton在2001~2010年主要擔任勇士隊打擊教練一職。
"A lot of that time I would hang out on the bench and talk to players and coaches," Timmons said, "number one, to pass the time because you've got to figure out how to spend three and a half hours and, number two, if I might be able to bring something with me."
Timmons credits those conversations with Pendleton as an important lesson in honing his disciplined approach at the plate, even with two strikes. He's never been a power hitter, but in only one minor league season did he have an on-base percentage below .375. For his career he has walked 468 times and struck out only 287.
Timmons讚揚那些與Pendleton的交談，對於琢磨他的本壘板紀律是一堂重要的課，即便在兩好球以後。他從來就不是一位具長打力的打者，但他只有一個小聯盟球季上壘率低於.375 (譯註: 2012年之前，只有2007年效力勇士3A的上壘率.333低於.375)。職業生涯至今被保送468次，只有287次三振。
After making consecutive Triple A All-Star teams in 2009 and 2010 but finding his path still blocked in Atlanta, Timmons signed as a free-agent after the 2010 season with Oakland. There he not only had the best season of his career -- with personal bests for batting average, home runs, RBIs -- but made his mark in other ways, too.
"He ran the best kangaroo court I have ever seen," said A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was making a scheduled rehab start in Sacramento when he witnessed Timmons presiding over a riotous clubhouse scene. "He was really good and really funny. Usually they all collapse in the middle and the rules are weird, but he was on top of everything."
“他在kangaroo court (一種由選手們自行展開的虛擬法庭，用球賽期間的失誤及疏忽來評估某一名選手有罪、進而罰錢。詳情請見洋基板yyhong68的文章)中表現的最好”A's投手Brandon McCarthy說，當時McCarthy正在沙加緬度進行復健賽，他目睹Timmons在一個暴動的局面中主持會議。”他真的非常棒、非常好笑。通常人們進行到一半就倒了，規則也很奇怪，但他在每個項目都居於領先”。
* * *
Part of Timmons' deal with his wife was always this: When the door to the big leagues closed, he'd walk away.
Last July Timmons thought his dream was over. The A's, facing what they called a "numbers issue" on the Triple A roster, demoted Timmons to Double A, a move that made him six years older than all but one of his position-player teammates.
上個七月，Timmons認為他的夢結束了。A’s在面對他們所謂3A陣容上的"人數問題”，將Timmons降到2A，這個異動讓他比全隊野手都大上六歲，除了一位野手之外。 (譯註: 去年他32歲，野手方面緊接在後的是29歲的Adam Heether，接下來就是幾位26歲的球員)。
Timmons called his wife and said, "I'll come home."
After some discussion, however, they decided that he should honor his one-year contract, and so Timmons packed for Midland, Texas, barely a fifth the size of Sacramento, and joined the Double A Rockhounds, an experience he initially described as "very humbling."
But a funny thing happened on his demotion to obscurity: He crushed the ball. Timmons hit .365 and at one point had a 15-game hitting streak. He made new friends and the front office received glowing reports.
"We had to send him to Double A, which we didn't want to do, but he took it great," Forst said. "He's a professional. I heard constantly from the Double A manager -- 'Hey, this guy's a veteran and he's great in the clubhouse. He's great with the younger kids.' We made sure to get him back to Triple A as soon as possible."
After 39 games Timmons returned to Sacramento, but that's as far as he got in 2011.
Lacking space on the 40-man roster, the A's were unable to promote him for a September call-up to the big leagues.
"I had no expectations," Timmons said. "I've never been in the big leagues. A lot of guys have been there and when they don't get called up in September, it's a real disappointing time. It makes the Triple A clubhouse kind of tough."
After the Triple A playoffs ended, Timmons began his long cross-country drive. He had reached West Texas when his phone rang. Forst prioritized Timmons as his first call of the offseason and extended the invitation for a return.
"I've never had anyone call and just say they appreciated what I've done in a season," Timmons said. "That phone call by itself pretty much got me hook, line and sinker back to the A's."
“我從未 (在過去所待的球隊)接到過任何人的電話，他們只是對於我在球季當中所做的表達感激” Timmons說”那通電話讓我再度與A’s產生關聯”。
* * *
Another phone call on Monday morning was even better. Upon leaving Melvin's office, Timmons called his wife, who was at the zoo with their daughters, and told her to start packing for Japan.
"I'm not sure she believed me," Timmons said. "But she was super excited."
At the end of the call Randi asked, "What am I supposed to do?"
Timmons responded, "I have no idea. I'll have to call you later. What do we do?"
It's a whole new world for the minor league journeyman. Eight months ago Timmons called his wife and offered to fly east and home, his baseball dreams over; this time he called to offer her a flight west, his baseball dreams having taken a step closer to coming true.
讓 我 們 一 起 替 Wes Timmons 加油 !