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THE WISER MAN
The onetime first-round pick had a veteran's résumé by 2007: four seasons of double-digit wins, one of 19 losses, and a World Series start. He was only 24, having reached the majors at 20, not because he was precocious but because the '03 Tigers were miserable and needed anybody who could start.
Still, the righthander developed into a credible and sometimes brilliant starter before the injury bug bit in 2008. Thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve and circulatory condition, necessitated the removal of a rib and limited him to 20 games between '08 and '09. He still wasn't healthy in '10, his last season in Detroit, when he had a 5.53 ERA. Then, last April, he had Tommy John surgery.
Now Bonderman is in the running for a spot in the Mariners' rotation. He no longer throws in the mid-90s, but he believes his wealth of experience has made him wily. "I've had a good career," he says. "I'd just like to have a better one."
THE LATE BLOOMER
In 2003, Evan Gattis was a star high school catcher in Dallas with a scholarship to play at Texas A&M the following year. Instead he entered rehab to seek treatment for alcohol and marijuana abuse and depression. He later played at Seminole State junior college, but he quit school and baseball in '06. "I didn't want to play," he says.
Over the next few years Gattis worked as a pizza maker, janitor, valet, hostel worker, golf-cart attendant and ski-lift operator while traveling the western U.S., rarely staying in one place for more than a few months and sometimes sleeping on a mattress in the back of his truck.