Jeff Suppan spent 16 seasons in the major leagues, pitching for the Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Pittsburgh Pirates. He had a record of 138-143, an ERA of 4.69, and 1,383 strikeouts. In 2006 Suppan won the World Series with the Cardinals and was named NLCS MVP. Now 37, Suppan still feels like he has enough gas in the tank (and his right arm) to be a successful pitcher. The San Diego Padres are willing to give him a chance to prove it, signing him to a minor league deal.
“If I didn’t feel I could still pitch,” Suppan told USA TODAY, “I wouldn’t be doing this. There’s not that many doors open.”
Suppan says he never really left the game. It’s just that the rest of baseball forgot about him. He was throwing bullpen sessions several mornings each week with a musician friend. He was working at his restaurant – Soup’s Sports Grill in Woodland Hills, Calif. – during the afternoon and evening.
“I’m going to play as long as I can,” he said. “I still feel like I can contribute to a major-league team. That’s been my drive, my motivation. I’m prepared.”
Suppan last pitched in the majors in 2010, going 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA for both the Brewers and Cardinals. San Diego’s rotation this season looks to include Tim Stauffer, Cory Luebke, Dustin Moseley, Clayton Richard, and Edinson Volquez. Neither of them had a winning record in 2011 with Volquez being the closest to the .500 mark at 5-7. Suppan could bring veteran leadership, but ofcourse that means he has to make the team first. We’ll have to wait a bit to see if that happens, but atleast he’s been given an opportunity. Now he just has to impress.
If you’re in the Woodland Hills, CA area the menu at Soup’s Sports Grill looks pretty good.
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