For most of last spring, 280-pound Rob Stratton was a cult figure in the Cincinnati Reds camp, grabbing attention by hitting .314 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 35 at-bats.
He was in camp as a non-roster invitee and he was sent to Class AAA Louisville. Just a week into the season, he tore his Achilles tendon. Told to stay off it, he walked down some steps during the healing process and tore it again.
Well, he's back. Mostly, he works by himself, part of a small group invited to a minor-league mini-camp, which means he'll probably play in some of the Reds exhibition games.
"The Achilles is good," he said. "I worked hard on it all off-season and I've lost 20 pounds. "This is the way I've had to battle all my career, fight through injuries. I'm just grateful to the Reds that they are giving me another chance and if I can stay healthy maybe I can get back where I left off last spring."
Glad to hear it. I'd love to see what Stratton could do on a major league roster if he's fully healthy. His minor league numbers for the Reds have been sick.
Have to love this as well:
With second base jammed up -- Rich Aurilia? Tony Womack? Ryan Freel? Frank Menechino? -- when Aurilia talked with manager Jerry Narron, he asked if he should pick up a first baseman's mitt from the Rawlings folks.
"I told him to get a first baseman's glove, a second baseman's glove, a shortstop's glove, a third baseman's glove, an outfielder's glove -- that the only gloves he wouldn't need were pitcher's and catcher's," said Narron.