The term “journeyman” in sports is a relatively loose description applied to players who have failed to latch on with one team for a handful of seasons in their career.
In baseball circles, its definition is particularly difficult to define because essentially every player in the game has traveled the road from rookie ball to the Majors with multiple stops along the way.
But there is the road traveled by the average professional baseball player, and then there’s the journey of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever David Aardsma. The right-hander has played on 23 Major League and Minor League teams since 2003, and in an interview with Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, the 33 year old very matter of factly stated his goals for Spring Training:
I want to work hard, throw hard and sign as many autographs as people need,’ he says. ‘Although at this point, I’ve signed so many, I don’t see how they can be of any value.'”
Aardsma was drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of Rice University in 2003 — with his last stint in the Majors coming in 2013, when he made 43 appearances for the New York Mets. During that same season, he made stops in Las Vegas (Mets Triple-A affiliate) and New Orleans (Miami Marlins Triple-A affiliate).
Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi expanded on the reasoning behind bringing Aardsma into Spring Training on a Minor League deal with a non-roster invite:
Last year he was one of the best triple-A pitchers in baseball, he spent the winter working with a biomechanics group with which we have some familiarity, and now we think he has a chance to make an impact,’ says Zaidi”
Aardsma’s numbers Zaidi touched on are indeed impressive, particularly with the St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, where he had a 1.29 ERA in 35 innings. If Aardsma does make it onto the 25-man roster, he will have to beat out players such as, Dustin McGowan and Sergio Santos, among others, for a spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen.
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