I was sorry to hear this week that Dirk Hayhurst, who pitched relief for the Blue Jays last season, has been having off-season arm troubles and will undergo surgery. Hayhurst is the author of the upcoming book, The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran, which will be released in March (pre-orders available now from Amazon). It details his years of trying to make it to the big leagues after several years in the minors; Keith Olbermann has called it one of the finest baseball books ever written.
Hayhurst is a nice guy; I spent some time with him over the last two seasons when he was pitching for the Portland Beavers, and when the Blue Jays played in Seattle. He is a running character in my own book about baseball, Trading Manny, which I hope will be published this spring, and is the only active ballplayer I found who would talk with me and my son Joe frankly about steroids and a ballplayer’s decision on whether or not to take them. It was a real highlight of our ’09 season when we spent a morning playing catch and eating with him in Seattle, and he looked Joe in the eye and said, “Taking steroids is cheating and you shouldn’t do it.” And Joe said, “Okay, I won’t.”