Human pincushion takes five for the team

Battered NCAA batter anything but pain-free after run of free bases

Sports Plus

March 10, 2002|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

Montreal Expos second baseman Ron Hunt, who was hit by 50 pitches during the 1971 baseball season and 243 during his career, once told reporters: "Some people give their bodies to science. I gave mine to baseball."

Stanford slugger Carlos Quentin gave his, too ... all on one day last month.

In a single game against Florida State, the sophomore outfielder was hit by five pitches, an NCAA record for a Division I player and two more than the major-league record.

Ouch!

"I have kind of mixed feelings," said Quentin, who was hit by a team-high 14 pitches last season. "It's kind of fun to have a record, but it's not too fun to get hit five times."

Quentin described his plunkings, which were issued by five different pitchers, for the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The first was a fastball that grazed me on the forearm. The second was a fastball that got me right on the left butt. The third was a curveball. We had two men on and I was supposed to bunt. It hit me in the right thigh. That was the worst one because it was right between the muscle and the bone. The fourth was a curve that hit me on the left calf. The fifth was a curve off the left shin.

"After the game, it was pretty tough to walk around."

Quentin entered the game leading the team with a .485 batting average and had hit three home runs in the first 10 games, but he said he didn't think Florida State pitchers were aiming at him.

"I think it was just bad luck," he said.

The Chronicle's Tom FitzGerald wrote that if Quentin ever makes the majors, he "could be a natural for one endorsement: Target."

Catching no breaks

As painful as life can be at the plate, it can be worse behind it.

Dan LeBatard of The Miami Herald recently interviewed Florida Marlins catcher Charles Johnson about the pain of errant pitches and foul tips.

"Getting hit in the cup is the worst," Johnson said. "I had to go to the hospital once after that happened. When it happens, you're like: `Why didn't I become a first baseman?' No. 2 is the shoulder. It will affect your throwing for three or four days. The toe is the third. That's terrible.

"No. 4 is the wrist because there's no muscle or fat to protect you. And No. 5 is when you get a foul tip off the mask and your chin and jaw lock up. It hurts to eat after that. I've had foul tips crack my shin guards, too, and your legs go numb - but that wouldn't crack the top five."

Pavement has hard-shell finish

In this month's oddest injury, San Francisco Giants second baseman Jeff Kent broke his left wrist while washing the top of his pickup.

Kent, who slipped off the soapy truck bed and tumbled onto the pavement, sheepishly told reporters: "I'll have my wife wash my car from now on."

Wrote the Los Angeles Times: "Witnesses say Kent injured himself while trying to hit for the [rinse] cycle."

Or maybe this month's oddest injury was Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia's aching back. He said he hurt it after sleeping on four pillows.

Beat writers asked manager Charlie Manuel if he can confirm the cause of Sabathia's injury.

Manuel shrugged.

"I don't know," he said. "I didn't sleep with him."

Kicking, and the dog

The off-season injury of the year came when Kansas City Royals outfielder Mark Quinn cracked a rib while practicing kung fu moves with his brother.

Or maybe it came when Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Matt Mantei needed four stitches in his right thumb after cutting it while opening a can of dog food.

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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