Edmonds playing like he never left
Veteran center fielder, 39, expected to make Brewers' Opening Day roster
PHOENIX -- At the first full squad meeting of the Milwaukee Brewers' spring training, manager Ken Macha went around the clubhouse, detailing the 2009 accomplishments of his players, from Prince Fielder to Casey McGehee. Jim Edmonds finally raised his hand, stood up and said, with a straight face, "I lowered my golf score from 110 to 85." Then everyone in the room laughed.Edmonds had never played golf before, and within a year was shooting in the 80s, which is remarkable, but this is more remarkable: He did not throw, catch or hit a baseball from the final game he played in 2008 with the Cubs until January 2010 when he decided, for no particular reason, to play baseball again.
“"He can really track a fly ball," Macha said. "He hit a ball the other day that just kept carrying." Edmonds' emergence creates an interesting situation in the Milwaukee outfield. Carlos Gomez was acquired from the Twins in the offseason, and he provides tremendous speed -- and occasionally great defense -- in center field. But he is still young and raw and undisciplined. He still has trouble absorbing information, and the adjustments he makes often only last a few days before he reverts to his old ways of playing out of control, swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, missing cut-off men and blindly running the bases. Edmonds is the opposite. He is a seasoned player on a young team hoping to contend. If he continues to impress this spring he could at times be the guy to hit behind, and protect, Fielder in the middle of the order. Or he could hit second, take a pitch and get on base for the big boys in the middle, Braun and Fielder. It is a great situation for a veteran player who never officially retired, but now wants to give it one more shot with improved health. "Sometimes I wonder, 'What in the hell am I doing here?"' Edmonds said, laughing. "But really, I want to help this team win. I want to help the young guys learn the game."
Sometimes I wonder, 'What in the hell am I doing here?' But really, I want to help this team win. I want to help the young guys learn the game.” -- Jim Edmonds
Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book "Is This a Great Game, or What?" was published by St. Martin's Press and became available in paperback in May 2008. Click here to order a copy.