A week ago, Sox left-hander David Wells sounded like a defeated man who was ready to hang 'em up and call it a career. But the Boomer has suddenly had a change of heart.
Wells, believes he may have turned the corner while rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee. The rotund lefty said he had good day while throwing on Tuesday, and there haven't been many of those since he went on the DL on April 15. Perhaps the latest round of Synvisc joint lubricating shots did the trick.
"I'm getting a lot better," Wells said. "It's been two days in a row and I've thrown all my pitches off flat ground and I wasn't able to do that after the Toronto series. To do that and feel nothing, that's pretty positive for me."
But could the Synvisc alone be responsible for this renewed motivation? Or could it be the incentive-laden contract that could pay him as much as $8 million this season, based on appearances? Wells is suddenly raring to go, and he doesn't want to waste time in Pawtuckett with a silly tune up.
Wells said he plans to throw a side session next, and if his knee responds well. "Then, go to a start. Throw me out to the wolves. I've done that before, I don't mind it. Why waste a start?"
What would be a waste is putting an ill-prepared, out of shape pitcher on the mound to face big league pitching -- especially when it went so miserably last time (4 2/3 innings, 10 hits and 7 ER in an embarrassing loss to the Blue Jays).
Wells has been grossly overconfident since spring training, when he asserted he was ready to immediately join the rotation -- even though he'd had limited preparation due to his injury and rehab. But after being forced to accept a tune up start he felt was below him, he proceeded to get shelled by AAA hitters (7 runs and 6 hits in 5 innings) last month.
The Sox should've seen this coming during the winter and traded Wells for a prospect -- even a bag of balls -- when there was some semblance of a market for him. Anything would've been better than this. Though he may say otherwise, Wells hasn't shown any genuine evidence that his desire to pitch is motivated by anything other than money. And even that hasn't been particularly motivating. Wells has consistently shown lack of commitment to training and conditioning and doesn't even begin to resemble a top-flight professional athlete. That's very unfortunate, and it's what separates him from a contemporary like Roger Clemens who, at the same age, continues to perform remarkably due to his dedication and commitment.
Wells would rather sit home, drink beer, and count his millions.
Copyright © 2006 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.