Not content to merely take the starting goaltender job from Chris Osgood this season, Jimmy Howard has also taking it upon himself to steal all of Ozzie’s dreams, one at a time.
Today he was invited to take batting practice with the Tigers (along with Draper, Miller, Chelios, and McCarty), and got to catch a few balls in the bullpen from Justin Verlander.
If you’ve ever read a Helene St. James profile piece on Osgood, you’ll know that one of his “dream jobs” after retiring from hockey is to be a bullpen catcher for the Tigers, in addition to the Mayor of Plymouth, and a spokesperson for Bowflex.
And now Howard’s gotten to the bullpen first, it seems.
Verlander, who threw a no-hitter in 2007, praised Howard’s natural ability behind the dish.
“He did a really nice job, especially with breaking balls,” said Verlander, who is 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA this season. “I thought that he would be really good with fastballs, because there isn’t much movement, similar to a puck. But then the breaking balls, he did a much better job then I anticipated. He caught all of them, and that’s not easy to do.
“You see most guys who haven’t caught a breaking ball before and it catches them off guard. He did a great job, but it’s not surprising though; he catches 100-mile-per-hour pucks.”
Well… I don’t know about the mayorship of Plymouth, but I’m sure there’s an opening for a late-night infomercial spokesperson for Bowflex.