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A Method to His Madness
One of the real flakes in minor league baseball is pitcher Turk Wendell, who was 8-2 in the season's first half for the Braves' farm club in Greenville, S.C., and started the Double A all-star game for the National League team. Wendell often runs from the hotel to the stadium on road trips as part of his 10-mile-a-day running regimen. He also doesn't wear sanitary socks when he pitches; he stuffs his stirrup socks into his shoes so that no skin shows. "I don't like socks," says Wendell. "When I wear them, I get blisters."
He has a chaw in his cheek when he pitches, but it's not tobacco, it's black licorice. "Makes me look more intimidating," he says. But the licorice stains his teeth, so he brushes after every inning. "I'm into dental hygiene," says Wendell. "Guys say I'm a lunatic, but I don't care. It gives me a psychological edge."
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Outfielder Terrel Hansen of the Tidewater (Va.) Tides, the Mets' Triple A team, has been hit by a pitch 14 times this year, tops in the International League. He was hit 24 times last year in Double A. "In college I got hit a lot," says Hansen, who attended Washington State, "but in my junior year, we had a guy who got hit 25 times. He got hit four times in one game. We all just learned how to turn your shoulder into the ball."
Hansen, though, asks for no sympathy for his many bruises. "I signed [with the Expos] as a pitcher," he says. "I hit guys. And I had no sympathy for them."
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