Saturday, July 31, 2010

TRIVIA TIME

Hello everybody what's going on? I haven't been on here in a little while because I have been traveling to visit our doctors in San Diego the past few days. I've received a lot of emails asking what type of news I received while out there, so I will let you guys know tomorrow what's going on. Also, next week I am going to ask another little trivia question and the winner will receive a pair of my game used Nike cleats that I wore this Spring Training. I will let you know in the next few days when the questions will be asked. I hope everyone has a nice weekend and I will talk to you soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ANOTHER TRIP TO SD

So I'm heading back to San Diego, again. This will be my fourth trip to SD to meet with our doctors to discuss my hand and why it hasn't healed the way it was supposed to heal. I am interested to see what happens because it is becoming quite frustrating that I cannot play in games. I've now been in Arizona for four months without playing in games, if you don't count the three innings I played a few days ago. I really want this to be my last trip to the doctors, preferably for the rest of my career, but if that is too much to ask, at least for this season. My flight leaves tomorrow morning and I will return to Peoria tomorrow night, so I will let everyone know how things went on Saturday.

As far as everything else goes there hasn't been too much going on. Every time I think I have an inkling of what may happen, something goes wrong and my plans go up in smoke. I thought that I would be able to play in a few games down here and if I showed I could play without any problems I might be able to get out of here to finish up the season. That plan lasted about an hour. Now I am not sure what is going to happen, and that's not a good feeling.

One thing I do know is that Season 2 of The Jersey Shore starts tonight, and people are starting to scare me with how excited they are. Everywhere I look I see people talking about it, leaving Twitter messages, writing Facebook statuses, or just fist pumping as they walk down the street. I won't lie, although I think it is a completely absurd reality show, just like all the other ones, I will probably be tuning in to see which new grenades end up in the hot tub, how many days Angelina lasts in Miami, how many times Mike makes fun of a girl for her weight, how often Snooki gets rejected by a guy, or how many guys Ronnie punches in the face and knocks out. "That's one shot kid!" Man, who am I kidding I can't wait!

Anyways, I hope everyone has a good day and a lovely weekend. Below is a video of me answering some questions I've received over the past few days. Thanks to those who sent them in and I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BACK TO WORK

Hi guys, I know I haven't put anything up in a few days so I wanted to take some time today to update everyone on what is going on around here. Yesterday as a lot of you know was my first rehab game down here in the Arizona Summer League. It was my first game back since the end of March so that was pretty exciting. It actually didn't feel like I hadn't played in that long. When I stood out there at 2nd base or in the batters box it felt like it had only been a few weeks since my last plate appearance. It did take me a few swings before I stopped fouling balls back and put one in play, but I expected it to take a little longer, so that was a positive sign.

I wish I had more positive news as the game went on but it was actually not that great of an outcome for me. I was scheduled to play five innings, but after two at bats and three innings in the field my hand was not feeling very good, so we called it a day. I still don't understand how my hand could go from feeling so good just a few days ago to feeling bad again. It is such a weird thing even most of the doctors I have visited have been stumped on what the problem could be. According to all my tests there isn't anything wrong with my hand. No broken bones, no torn tendons, no anything. Yet after hitting for a few days I still get pain. If any of you know voodoo I will buy you a ticket out here to help me out. Let me know.

As for today, I am not really sure what is going to happen or in what direction we are going to go. I will find out once I show up at practice today what we are going to do about it. It is pretty frustrating and disappointing that after all this time I still am not able to make it through a real game. Hopefully we will figure something out in the next few days and I can play again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

On a side note, I don't know if its because I'm getting old, or if its because I haven't played in a baseball game in four months, but I feel like I got hit by a bus this morning. Crazy how sore you get after doing something you haven't done in a long time. I need a foot massage.

Well I hope everyone has a good rest of the day and I will update everyone on what is going on around here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS VII

Hi guys how are we doing today? I've received a lot of emails telling me to do another grind my gears video, so here you go. I've included some of the emails and twitter messages that you guys have sent in to me over the past week or so also. Check it out and let me know what you think? Also keep sending things in.

I'll give everyone a quick update with how baseball is going since I keep getting asked lately about when I'm coming back. I am feeling the best I have all year right now. I took batting practice for the first time on Thursday and got through it all without any problems. The plan right now is for me to play 5 innings on Monday, 7 innings on Tuesday, and 9 innings on Thursday. After that I will have a better idea if I will be getting out of Arizona and where I could possibly be going. I hope everyone has a nice weekend and I shall talk to you later.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

MAIL BAG PART 12

Hey guys. I did a video today answering some email questions I've received over the last week or so to try and catch up with them. They are three baseball related questions, one about the Padres during Spring Training, and two about specific baseball techniques that will make you a better ball player. If you aren't interested in becoming a better player, I'm sorry, this might not be the mail bag for you. But you could always be a good grandma and pass on the knowledge to the little ones at the next birthday party. Also, when I made the video I went a little beyond my ten minute limit so I had to cut off a little of the beginning and a little of the end.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NO PAIN, NO PAIN, NO PAIN

Hey guys, how are we doing today? I wanted to take a few minutes to let everyone know how I've been feeling since I've received a lot of emails over the past week or so asking. Thanks to everyone out there that has been keeping track of how things are going with me and also wishing me luck, I really do appreciate it.

So, the last two days I have practiced with the team and really had no limitations at all. I was allowed to hit off the tee and hit soft toss and I did both activities without any pain in my hand. Its the first time since the first two weeks of Spring Training that I've been able to hit without any pain, so that is really awesome. Its amazing to not have to worry about pain, and just worry about the actual mechanics of hitting a ball. I keep receiving emails and twitter messages asking me how long until I am back playing in games, and I really don't have an exact answer for you guys. I would love to play in a game tomorrow, but our staff isn't going to let me go from sitting around for the last three and a half months to jumping straight into a real game. If I had to guess I would say that maybe next week I will be allowed to play in some games, as long as I show them I can hit in batting practice without any pain or problems. I am really confident I will be able to do that tomorrow. I will be sure to let everyone know how that goes.

I've also gotten a lot of emails about when I am going to do another Grind My Gears video. On Friday I plan on doing a new video with some of my own material, but also a lot of stuff that you guys have sent in telling me what grinds your gears. I am actually also thinking about doing a video about things that make me happy, since I'm always talking about things that piss me off. Yes, some things do make me happy.

Sometime next week I am going to be asking another trivia question and giving the winner a pair of cleats. I know from emails that people seem to really like game used items, so you'll also be getting the dirt and sweat that comes with it. Let me know if you think this is a good idea for a prize. I'll make sure to leave the cleats outside for a few days and let the sun dry them out for you.

The last thing I wanted to comment on really quickly was all the emails I've been receiving lately about how I keep such a level head and stay so modest with all the fame my blog has created for me. Yes, it is true. It can be tough to stay level headed when your blog is read in over 40 countries, you've been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, you're approached daily by MTV, Bravo, and A&E for your own realty TV show, and they want your body to appear on Axe body spray commercials. My answer to them is usually always the same. I'm able to do it because in the end, I'm just a regular everyday normal guy. To understand where I'm coming from view the video below.

*Warning, explicit language used!!!*


Monday, July 19, 2010

ITS BASEBALL TIME

Today is a very exciting, and somewhat strange day for me. Today, I will be swinging a baseball bat. You're probably thinking, "Matt, why is it strange for a baseball player to swing a baseball bat?" Well, its because I never get to swing one, that's why! In all seriousness, it will be my first day hitting in about two weeks, although it feels more like two months. My brain is having a tough time keeping all the dates straight in my mind. I have visited the doctor so many times I can't remember when the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 8th visits took place. To prove this season has really confused me, yesterday I was talking with a younger player who I met a few months ago during Extended Spring Training. After talking for a few minutes I started reminiscing about a story that happened during a game last year that he and I had been a part of. When I was done, he told me he had just been signed by the Padres a few months ago and had just met me in May. I was convinced he was lying and we played together last year. Needless to say, I am very confused, my mind is all over the place, and he now thinks I'm completely nuts. Getting back on the field will be great to get my head back on track, and I'm just really excited to start hitting again.


The plan today is to take part in practice and take some swings in the cages. If everything goes well I am hoping they will allow me to hit in batting practice tomorrow. I feel like my hand is going to feel the best it has since last year. Don't tell anyone, but I snuck in a few practice swings a few days ago, and everything felt really good. Hopefully it is the same today at practice.

Getting off the subject of hands for a minute, I have been addicted to movies for some reason over the last week or so. I've seen four movies in that time, two really good ones and two not so good ones. I loved Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me. I don't know what it is about those animation movies, but not only do they look unbelievable but they are funny as hell. Who would think a toy cowboy and astronaut or those damn little minions would make me laugh so hard. As far as the bad ones go, The Fourth Kind and The Book of Eli just didn't do it for me. I know some people have said that The Book of Eli was awesome, but I just wasn't feeling it. Maybe I started the movie too late at night or something. Let me know if I'm off here or if you guys agree.

One other thing I am excited about was my bowling last night. I am not a bowler, and have probably only gone bowling like ten times in my life. Last night was definitely my best performance ever after bowling three strings with some of our friends. I think they are called strings but I'm not really sure on that one. Anyways, I think I played pretty well. I bowled a 146 and 145 after I warmed up with a 110 the first time around. These are probably horrible numbers and some bowling aficionados probably just yelled, "you suck you jackass!" at their computers, but I was pretty impressed with myself. I was also impressed with Laura. She had only bowled 3 or 4 times in her life and had three strikes in a row one time, and she beat me our first string. I am not one of those guys that goes easy on girls in sports, especially if I don't think I'm very good at it in the first place. I was out for blood, and when I lost I wanted to sneak out the back door and go home. But I didn't, and I brought my A game the rest of the way dammit! Anyways, the night was all in good fun and we all had a good time. I might actually take up bowling this off-season, that way I never lose again. If anyone is a bowler out there let me know what you score normally. I am interested to see how good, or bad I really was.


I hope everyone has a good start to their week and remember, "Nobody fucks with the Jesus."

Friday, July 16, 2010

A QUICK GRIND MY GEARS

Hey everybody, I wasn't originally planning on writing a blog post today, but after watching TV tonight and not being able to fall asleep I saw something that inspired me to jump up and make a quick video. I still plan on putting together a video in the next few days of what grinds everyone else's gears, but tonight I had to take over and make one of my own. I'm guessing this stuff grinds your gears also, but maybe I'm just crazy. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SAN DIEGO ZOO

Last night I finished my six hour ride back to the great state of Arizona and my almost permanent home town of Peoria. It was definitely nice to get out of town for a few days and to the beautiful weather of San Diego. I really still can't believe I've been in Arizona since February 16th. Yesterday I was thinking back to March when I hurt my hand and was given a few days off at the end of Spring Training to rest it up before I flew out to Portland to start my season. I really thought the pain was going to go away after resting for two days and I would start my season on time. Here I am five months later after repeated cortisone shots, surgery, rehab, many attempts to get back on the field, and more doctor appointments than I can keep track off. It is amazing what surgery will do to you, especially when you never thought you were going to go under the knife in the first place.

Anyways, since this is where we are and I got to keep trying to find a way to Portland to begin my season, this is what the latest news is on me. After meeting with two different hand specialists in San Diego, they both told me that they don't believe there is any more structural damage to the hand. The pain that I have been experiencing since I began hitting is not normally a result of hamate surgery, but is seen in some cases. Pretty much the only option is rest, (or more cortisone) so we continue to work on it and make sure it keeps getting better. I have taken almost ten days off from hitting and this is the best it has felt since surgery. I am not 100% sure if I am going to begin hitting again today or tomorrow, but I think once I do hit again it is going to feel much better than usual. At least that is the plan.

Other than meeting with doctors, San Diego was great as always. We were able to visit with my host family that I lived with while playing for the Lake Elsinore Storm in single-A, which is always a good time. We also were able to check out the San Diego Zoo. It was a tough decision deciding whether to go to Sea World or the zoo, so in the end I left it up to Twitter to help me decide which one we would go to. The final vote, although very narrow, went to the zoo. I am definitely glad we checked it out, and the next time we are in SD we will say hi to Shamu. Below is a video of some of the animals we saw while at the zoo.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ANOTHER ROAD TRIP

Hello everybody! Since the last three months have made me believe I'm related to Bill Murray and haven't been able to escape Punxsutawney Phil, I decided to get the hell out of Dodge and take another road trip, this time to San Diego. It actually wasn't really my idea or even my choice. The doctors out here wanted to check me out to see how my hand was healing and if there was anything else they could do to help it out. Usually when this happens I fly out in the morning, see the doctors in the afternoon, and fly back that night. It might seem like that would be quick, and even make you feel kind of cool like your some kind of important business man like Donald Trump and your making a quick trip over to check on one of your multi-million dollar buildings. But let me assure you, when you get stuck in the middle seat on SouthWest and then get there and have to find a taxi to the hospital, followed by a taxi back to the airport and then grab a middle seat again, its not quite the same as chilling in Trump Tower.

Instead of the usual game plan I decided to see if I could drive out to SD. That may seem stupid, but the way our off day falls it actually allows us almost three days off, so I will be able to spend a full two days and some change in the city, and when you've been in the same apartment for three months doing the same thing every single day, two days in a different city seems pretty exciting.

After driving for a little more than five hours yesterday I am about to head over to see the doc in a few minutes. After that I am not really sure what we will do, but it should definitely be fun, and also relaxing. Below are a few videos of the trip out yesterday and also of a new technique I have been working with to help my hand recover faster. The first part of the video was taken a few days ago, and since we tried that technique my hand has felt a lot better. Not sure if they are directly correlated, but I'll pretend they are, which makes me happy. Anyways, enjoy the videos and enjoy the rest of the day. Thanks!

Friday, July 9, 2010

SPRING TRAINING TRIP PART II

I hope everyone enjoyed the first part of our trip yesterday. Here is the second part of the trip.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SPRING TRAINING TRIP PART I

It feels like an eternity ago, but more than five months back my girlfriend and I made a 45 hour drive across the country from Boston, Massachusetts to Peoria, Arizona for Spring Training. I'm not going to lie, it was way tougher than I imagined it would be. I probably wasn't as mentally prepared as I thought, but we made it across with my car and relationship still fully intact, so I'd consider that a victory. It took us a total of five days, spending the night in New York City, Lexington, Kentucky, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were able to see some beautiful parts of the country that we had never been to before. We were also able to see some parts that I hope I will never have to return to. Either way, I am happy we did it, and if I had to do it again...I'd probably fly.

Below is Part I of the trip. I will be putting up Part II tomorrow. I will say that I think Part II is funnier, but Part I does a good job of showing how boring sitting in a car for all those hours really can be. I hope you all enjoy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BACK TO THE DOC

Well guys, I've just finished another visit to the doctors office this morning and I must say, as much of a great guy he is, I don't want to see him anymore! I am really sick of seeing training rooms, x-ray labs, and doctor's offices over the past three months. The reason I went to see him today was because a few days ago in practice I took a ball off the bone that I had surgery on and it hurt like hell. I was pretty sure it was nothing serious and I just happened to irritate it badly, but the rehab staff wanted to send me for some quick x-rays to make sure it wasn't anything serious. Turns out everything is fine and the bone is still intact, and it will just set me back a few days from a little bruising and swelling. The symptoms should be totally gone by next week.

For the next few days I will be restricted to icing my hand several times a day and applying a gel called Voltaren to my hand, which I believe it is an anti inflammatory medicine. As far as workouts go, yesterday I got a good workout in with my friends, Mr. Bicycle and Mrs. Elliptical. I always used to make fun of people when I saw them riding the elliptical machines, especially athletes, but I must say they are actually a pretty good workout. I tried one for the first time in my life about a week ago and have spent at least ten minutes a day on it since. I was wrong and I'm sorry if I offended any elliptical fans out there.

As far as things go away from the field, I reached the final four in our World Cup pool, but was knocked out yesterday when my team Uruguay lost to the Netherlands 3-2. I am pretty upset, but then again when I drew Uruguay out of the hat a few weeks ago I never thought they were going to make it this far in the tournament. It still would have been nice to have bragging rights and been able to rub it in everyone's face down here for the next few weeks.

In other news, when Laura and I drove out here for Spring Training in early February we took some videos of our adventure, so I have been trying to put them all together and make a video out of it. I've had some technical difficulties with some of the videos, but if I can figure it all out I might throw up some clips of our travels in a few days. A few of the videos make me laugh, so I'm hoping they will be entertaining to everyone. 45 hours in a car should be enough to put something good together. We will see how that goes.

Other than that, nothing new has been going on around here. I rented the movie "Remember Me" last night out of the Red Box, and it was a pretty entertaining flick. When I first saw commercials for it and the cover of the movie, I thought it was going to be some boring love story that I wouldn't be interested in. It was actually nothing like the way I envisioned it, so I would suggest giving it a shot if you haven't seen it yet. Apparently watching "Eclipse" has really put me in a Robert Pattinson mood. He's actually not too bad.

I hope everyone has a nice week back to work after the long holiday weekend and check out the blog on either Thursday or Friday for some cross the country travel scenes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend and continues to enjoy the long weekend today. It has been a pretty relaxing holiday weekend for me so far. We had off from practice on Saturday, so I was able to enjoy some time away from the field and watch one of my favorite movie sagas, Twilight. I'm just playing, it isn't my favorite book or movie series, but I still had to spend my Saturday afternoon sitting in a full movie theatre with hundreds of young teenage girls screaming every time some glittering vampire stepped on screen. I am still extremely confused about what the hells going on in this vampire / werewolf world. I tried cramming in a few quick lessons by reading the books, but that didn't help much.

Yesterday we had a quick practice in the afternoon where I took my usual tee work and front toss before practice starts. My hand was feeling pretty decent. It is kind of in a spot where it hurts a little to swing, enough to keep me from swinging close to 100%, but not enough to keep me from swinging. I am hoping after we keep hitting enough it will get to the point where I won't have to think about it anymore and will be able to play normally. Hitting went pretty well, but I had some bad luck when we went into our ground ball work.

Our fields here aren't exactly Major League quality, and with the 120 degree heat and sun they dry up pretty quickly. During ground balls I got a bad hop on a backhand ball and threw my glove up quickly to try and knock the ball down. Unfortunately the ball hit me square on the bone that I had surgery on, and I experienced a pain I haven't felt in a while. It was pretty sore all last night, but is feeling a little better today. I am hoping it won't make hitting any more difficult than it has been.

Last night we traveled over to our Spring Training complex where they hold a really big 4th of July Festival. There were a ton of people over there and the fireworks were pretty impressive. It stinks not being able to play in a baseball game on 4th of July, because those games are always usually sold out and exciting, but at least I got to see a few fireworks. They did a really good job holding the event. Below is a video of some swings I took at batting practice yesterday and also the fireworks event. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

NEW GRIND MY GEARS

Hello everyone! How are we doing today? I've been receiving a lot of emails and Twitter replies lately about when I am going to throw up another "Grind My Gears" video, so I decided to pick out a few things and make a video about them today. I'm sorry I haven't been putting up a lot of stuff lately, but I came down with a cold a few days ago and haven't been feeling too well lately. You will be able to tell from looking at me and hearing my voice in the video that I feel like crap. NyQuil has been my best friend lately. Thank god for him. Anyways, here is the video and I hope you enjoy watching. (The first 10 seconds of the video never recorded for some reason. Sorry about that. Stupid camera.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

VIDEO MAIL BAG

Hi guys! So I gave an update a few days ago about my visit to the doctors and how my hand had been hurting during batting practice last Saturday. I took three days off from hitting and resumed with some tee work and soft toss on Tuesday, and then again yesterday. The weird thing is I was expecting my hand to still be pretty sore, but it actually felt the best it has since I received surgery a little more than two months ago. I am really happy with how it felt and I think I will be allowed to hit in batting practice again today. We are definitely back on the right track and we will see how things go over the next few days of batting practice before I get a good feel for when I may be able to jump into some real games. Lets hope for the best.

Today I wanted to answer questions I have been receiving on my email over the last few days. I hope you guys enjoy.