By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Stanford grad Greg Reynolds pitched two innings for the Colorado Rockies on Saturday in the Rockies' Cactus League opener. It was the first time he's thrown without pain in three years.
He also hopes it's a sign of things to come. However, Reynolds has another challenge ahead after the Rockies optioned him to Double-A Tulsa on Sunday.
Reynolds reached the Major Leagues in 2008, but struggled in 14 games, going 2-8 with an 8.13 ERA. The next year he sustained an injury in a muscle in the back of his shoulder and eventually underwent surgery.
He was impressive last spring, but suffered a chipped elbow when hit by a line drive during a batting practice session.
"First and foremost I want to show them I'm healthy," said Reynolds, the second overall pick of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. "I want to prove, in this camp, that all the adversity is in the past."
He gave up a home run to Kelly Johnson, buts finished his stint with a pair of strikeouts.
"He gave up the home run, and what you're anxious to see is are we going to get tentative to the next hitter, and are we going to try to make absolute perfect pitches and just deepen the hole?" Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He bounced back and went right back to attacking and right back to pounding the strike zone, and ended up having himself a very nice outing."
Reynolds attended Stanford on a baseball scholarship but that didn't deter then coach Buddy Teevens to ask him to try out for football there.
"I always knew my career would be baseball and that was going to be hard enough," Reynolds said. "It was a decision I had to make and being my first year I wanted to concentrate on baseball at that time."
A strong junior season, in which he was matched against Pac-10 starters like Tim Lincecum at Washington, Brandon Morrow at California and Ian Kennedy at USC, led to his high draft status. Morrow went fifth in the same draft, Tim Lincecum went 10th and Kennedy went 21st overall.
It was one particular game, during his sophomore year, in which Reynolds came of age as a college pitcher, and he lost.
Reynolds threw 11 innings in a 4-3 loss to Baylor at the Waco Regional in 2005. He struck out 10 hitters and kept the hometown Bears at bay until allowing a solo home run leading off the 12th.
"Something just happened," Reynolds said. "I remember after that game coach (Dean) Stotz coming up to me and saying what a great outing it was and how there was no reason I couldn't do it every time. That was a big growing point in my career."
Stanford's lineup featured other future major leaguers like John Hester, John Mayberry, Jr. and Jed Lowrie.
The next year he started 18 games for Stanford and finished five of them, including three straight at one point. He had a 3.31 ERA in over 127 innings pitched.
"I must have been throwing 120 pitches a game," Reynolds said. "But we were only throwing once a week."
He arrived at the Colorado Rockies' spring training site this month with a clean slate, healthy body and the determination to show he can deliver.
Elsewhere at spring training: Former Stanford outfielder Jody Gerut has retired following six seasons in the major leagues. Gerut, 33, had been invited to Seattle's spring training as a non-roster player. He announced his retirement Sunday. Gerut appeared in 574 games with the Indians, Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Brewers from 2003 until last season. His major league totals are a .262 batting average and 472 hits.
Track and field
Palo Alto High grad Philip MacQuitty ('10) scored in two events for UCLA over the weekend in Seattle at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships. The UCLA men came in third overall, behind winner Stanford and second place Arizona, but beat distance powerhouse Oregon.
MacQuitty, a redshirt freshman, came in fourth in the 800 meters on a frigid day where temperatures inside the largest indoor track structure in the Western USA hovered in the mid-40's. His time was 1:51.29.
MacQuitty also led off the distance medley relay, running the 1200-meter leg in 2:56. The Bruins finished seventh with a time of 9:41.4.
Palo Alto's Stan Honey was honored last week as US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year during a luncheon held at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. The award was formally announced in January.
The 55-year-old Honey was cited for his victory in the Jules Verne Trophy as navigator on an otherwise all-French crew aboard Groupama 3. The trimaran set a race record of 48 days, seven hours and 45 minutes and accounted for history's fastest non-stop circumnavigation under sail, eclipsing the former record by more than 56 hours. Honey, a Stanford graduate, is the second American in the history of the award to receive the honor for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe.