When Mark DeRosa’s bunt rolled past the yellow-lined target a few yards from home plate, he huffed out of the batting cage to a hail of trash talk.
“They didn’t bring me over here to bunt!” he shot back, laughing.
DeRosa was competing in the team bunting contest this afternoon, a little competition that served mostly as an opportunity to try out new insults on each other.
There were two teams: Starting pitchers vs. position players. Five players on each team. Closer Brian Wilson boycotted the whole thing, watching from a good distance with his arms crossed..
“Not worth watching if there are no relievers,” he said.
DeRosa was joined by Kevin Frandsen, Andres Torres, Pablo Sandoval and Eugenio Velez. Freddy Sanchez was offering tips to his fellow position players.
“You want to hit it right here,” Sanchez said to DeRosa and Sandoval, pointing to the fattest part of the bat. “Right here.”
By the end of the first round -the vague rules were devised and enforced by third-base coach Tim Flannery – DeRosa and Sandoval were out as were most of the pitchers.
“You got to use ash!” Sanchez was now advising Frandsen and Torres. “Maple’s too hard.”
By the end, Frandsen was the last man standing. Not sure what he won, other than the lasting respect of Freddy Sanchez.