(Player) Turning Heads in (location of MLB team Spring Training facility)
By (National Baseball Writer)
(PLACE IN FLORIDA OR ARIZONA) — While most of the attention in (team’s) camp has been focused on (more valuable, better paid player who is returning from an injury), (less known, bad player — possibly a non-roster invitee) has quietly been catching the eyes of (team’s) officials.
Aware that he is likely down to his last life in professional baseball, (Player) surprised the (team) when he arrived for Spring Training “in the best shape of his life.” Through his first (less than 5) games, (player) has made it clear that he intends to make the most of this opportunity.
In (less than 15) spring plate appearances, (player) has hit (batting average above .300) with (number of RBIs). Statistically inclined baseball fans will note that (less than 15) plate appearances is an inadequate sample to draw any conclusions from, and they would not be wrong, but (draws conclusion).
It has been a long road back for (player), so making (team) would be the perfect punctuation to this true tale of perseverance. He was designated for assignment by (different team) midway through the 2010 season, and spent the entire 2011 season out of baseball. During that time he returned home to (small southern town) to work as (something blue collar). At this point, (player) had come to grips with the likelihood that he would never play baseball professionally again. “I just didn’t feel the same love for the game that I had in years past. I figured that part of my life was over,” he admits.
It was only after seeing his former teammates playing in October that he once again felt the itch. But after a year of inactivity, he had fallen out of shape. “I had gotten fat,” he says. “I didn’t expect to play, so I stopped watching what I ate. Plus, the cooking down south will do this to you.” He knew that if he was going to have any chance of getting an invite to a Major League camp, he’d have his work cut out for him. For the next few months, (stuff about intense workout regimen).
Then, in late January, (player) got a call from (agent), his agent. The (team) was extending him an invite to audition for a roster spot in the spring. “It felt great,” he notes. “It felt like all my hard work was close to paying off.”
(Player) knows that the odds are still stacked against him, but in Spring Training, first impressions are key. Here in (place where spring training is), (player)’s early results and his undeniable work ethic have indeed made quite the impression. “(Platitude about undeniable work ethic),” says one team official. And his teammates agree. “(Another platitude about work ethic),” says (better, higher paid player).
Although he would prefer to make the big league club right away, (player) is not opposed to starting the season in AAA.
“Anything beats working at (blue collar job in hometown),” he says with a chuckle.