Veteran Kevin Millwood hit a pitching milestone in New York – his 2,000th career strike out – which led to a discussion today on what to do to commemorate the occasion.
“I saved the ball,” he said.
A baseball is nice, but didn’t seem enough for such a significant moment in a career. What else might Millwood do?
“Buy yourself that tractor,” reliever Shawn Kelley suggested.
“I’m going to buy a tractor,” he said.
Asked if his career had ended on 1,999 strikeouts what he might have done, Millwood didn’t hesitate.
“I’d buy the tractor,” he said. “I need one.”
The conversation then moved to Kelley, who was asked what a middle reliever might consider a milestone.
“I don’t know, 200 strikeouts? Maybe appearances,” Kelley said. “A closer has saves, but guys who pitch the sixth, seventh, eighth innings? I don’t what you’d consider a milestone.”
Kelley saved a baseball from his first career appearance and has only one more thing in mind now.
“I want to hit a home run and save that ball,” he said.
When was the last time he had an at-bat?
“College,” he said. “I’d have to be pitching in extra innings and be going two or three innings and have my spot in the lineup come up early to get an at-bat.”
What would be the chances of him hitting one out?
“Maybe if I faced a guy throwing 95 mph and he threw me an 88 mph slider – and hung it,” Kelley said, thinking out loud. “Then I’d be swinging late on his fastball and might get that slider.”
How likely is that?
“Not very,” Kelley admitted.
And now, tonight’s lineup – with a late change. Mike Carp was scratched and replaced in left field by Chone Figgins:
Dustin Ackley 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero C
Kyle Seager DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Alex Liddi 3B
Chone Figgins LF
Brendan Ryan SS
Felix Hernandez RHP