The Indians got a bit of surprising news this morning when former Indians ace Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn announced that he was planning a comeback to Major League Baseball.
Vaughn was quoted as saying the come back is all about "winning and bi-winning."
It was welcome news to a pitching staff that was a combined 69-93 with a 4.30 ERA in 2010.
The 45 year-old pitcher broke into baseball in 1989 with a terrific rookie year. Discovered in the California Penal League, Vaughn’s raw talent earned him a spot on the Indians spring training roster.
He had some control issues early, but once corrected, he anchored the rotation that also featured Cy Young award winner Eddie Harris.
On why he decided to come back: “It’s always kind of bothered me that I retired a year before the Indians made their run in the 1990s. When Lou [Former Indians Manager Lou Brown] died, I had to take a serious look at my life,” Vaughn said. “I called Jake [Taylor] and we got together over the offseason and started working on some stuff. You know, getting back into shape.”
He has also been working out with former Indians Gold Glove Award winner Willie Mays Hayes.
The workouts have been intense, but that has not deterred Vaughn: “I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.” Hopefully that Tiger Blood will translate into victories for the Tribe.
With an inconsistent Fausto Carmona as the opening day starter, there are a lot of questions heading into 2011. There is some promise with the likes of Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot, all under 28 years old. None of them are proven starters.
Ricky Vaughn has said he’d like to compete for a job as a starter, refusing to entertain the notion that he would be relegated to bullpen duty.
When asked about the Indians pitchers, Vaughn clarified by saying, "They're the best at what they do and I'm the best at what I do. And together it's like, it's on. Sorry, Middle America [American League Central]." That kind of positive thinking will be a welcomed addition to current skipper Manny Acta.
Slow starts have plagued the Indians in recent years. If Ricky’s aging arm can stand up to the rigor of a full MLB season, this might be the year they get it turned around. Wild Thing was not ashamed when he talked about what he expects from the upcoming 2011.
He said "It's perfect. It's awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it's scary. People say it's lonely at the top, but I sure like the view."
Not everybody is drinking the kool-aid. The groundskeepers at Progressive Field in Cleveland were quoted as saying “They’re still sh**** [crappy].”