March 8, 2003
By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com
PEORIA, Ari. -- Rob Ramsay arrived at the Padres' camp as a non-roster invitee. "That," says the 29-year-old pitcher from the great state of Washington, "was a great, great feeling. Just to be back in uniform with teammates. I want to live every day I can. Every day is a gift."
Then came the first loose throwing session. Then the mile run.
"He ran the mile. He does everything," says Padres manager Bruce Bochy. "He never complains. I just think it is remarkable what he has been through and be out here throwing already ... and for him to be here this spring throwing surprised me and to see the kind of shape he's in."
"It was miraculous he even came of out surgery," says Padres GM Kevin Towers, "let alone be out here running, and running the mile with the players. If he isn't an inspiration to these players I don't know what is."
Then came the first side throwing session, followed by live batting practice.
"It is unbelievable that he's here," says Bochy. "I feel inspired by him. If you're not inspired by Rob, there's something wrong with you."
Ramsay once was a pretty decent prospect, a left-handed pitcher who was drafted by the Red Sox, traded to Seattle in 1999 and seemed en route to a promising major league career. He was 10-7 between Triple-A Pawtucket and Triple-A Tacoma in 1999, but sat out most of 2000 and came back to be 10-11 for Tacoma in 2001. The Padres claimed him on waivers and planned to bring him to spring training with a shot to make the staff as the second lefty reliever behind Alan Embree.