Pitchers put service first, find success in majors
Lindstrom knew that most baseball organizations prefer to mold
young talent. Despite the personal growth he experienced on his
mission, in the eyes of scouts and general managers, he was behind.
\"I didn't really think it was going to happen,\" said Lindstrom,
who simply decided to resume his career at Ricks and see where it took
him. He said he came home \"throwing garbage\" pitches that topped out
at a mere 85 miles per hour but Lindstrom began lifting weights and,
like Guthrie, rediscovered his game.
At that point, both players faced the challenge of convincing
clubs that their service hadn't compromised their future, a difficult
task considering the long-standing baseball mind-set regarding returned
missionaries, according to Pullins.
\"The biggest challenge has absolutely nothing to do with their
playing skills,\" Pullins said. \"It's the plain and simple fact that so
many organizations make the assumption that if they're willing to give
up baseball for two years ... they perceive that baseball may not be
important to them.
\"Some of the professional people give up on them ... It's more
making it up in the view of the professional baseball people than it is
on the field between the white lines.\"
AFTER PLAYING ONE more season at Ricks College, Lindstrom was
drafted in June 2002 by the Mets in the 10th round. He's now in his
second full season with the Marlins, living a hectic major league
schedule that includes playing night games, rushing home to do a load
of laundry and packing a suitcase for a road trip the following day.
\"It's worth it,\" he said. \"It's what I love to do.\"
Lindstrom caught a break when he was traded to the Marlins prior
to the 2007 season, after which he earned a spot in the bullpen, thanks
in part to a fastball that at times reaches 100 mph.
Ironically, despite the existing trepidation in baseball about
returned missionaries, Lindstrom's time in Sweden may have helped his
baseball development. He describes himself as a late-bloomer and said
that while other pitchers were putting mileage on their arms, he was
benefiting from the time off.
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