Suppan throws 1st bullpen session with Padres
Jeff Suppan unofficially began his 20th professional baseball
season after he threw his first bullpen session on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Suppan, a second-round pick in the 1993
draft by the Boston Red Sox, accepted an invitation to big league
camp with the San Diego Padres when they signed him to a
minor-league contract. He will compete with Dustin Moseley, Micah
Owings and Anthony Bass for the fifth spot in the Padres’ starting
Suppan, 37, was 11-8 with a 4.78 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) for
the Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A Omaha affiliate last season. But
2011 also marked the first season he hadn’t appeared on a major
league roster since 1994. Even though he has a World Series ring
and a post-baseball career as a restaurateur planned, Suppan said
he’s having too much fun to retire.
Suppan is 138-143 in his career with a 4.69 ERA. He has pitched
for six teams and won a World Series title with the St. Louis
Cardinals in 2006.
”I’m not going to overanalyze it, I’m a baseball player and I
like to play,” Suppan said. ”That’s why I’m here. All these
things, retirement, continuing to play, they’re all a reality. It
could go either way. There’s an opportunity here. I’m here and
we’ll see what happens.”
Pitching coach Darren Balsley said Suppan isn’t just in camp to
give the Padres depth. Nor is he with the team to mentor a talented
crop of minor-league pitchers.
”He’s a great veteran presence, and by the way he can still
pitch,” Balsley said.
Suppan can opt out of the contract on June 15 if he isn’t in the
majors. But for now, Suppan said he’s enjoying bullpen sessions and
being around his teammates.
”They said there was an opportunity,” Suppan said. ”How
great, they really couldn’t say. But they did say there was an
opportunity to come to camp and show what I can do. We’ll see what
happens and I’m OK with that.”