First off, Casey Weathers looks more like a front man for a rock band than he does a major-league pitcher, which he hopes to be one day.
The 6-foot-1 closer out of Tulsa, Okla., with ice-blue eyes and a thick mane of brown hair, provided Dust Devils' fans with the most entertaining answer Tuesday night to the team's newest on-field promotion — Ask-a-Dust-Devil — when he responded to Erik Mertens' (a.k.a. Erik the Peanut Guy) inquiry of 'Blondes or Brunettes?', with 'Anything I can get.'
Spoken like a true baseball player. And by the way, you have to give major points for honesty.
At the beginning of this season, Baseball America tabbed Weathers as the No. 6 prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization. But after undergoing ulnar collateral ligament (a.k.a. Tommy John) surgery in 2008, Weathers expects to be shelved for the 2009 season.
"I'm probably off that list now," joked Weathers, the Rockies No. 1 draft pick in 2007 out of Vanderbilt and a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic baseball team that won a bronze medal.
He'll spend the year on Andy Stover's training table in the Dust Devils' locker room, but that certainly doesn't mean he'll stop hoping to return this season. For now, he's playing catch every day and long-tossing every other day in preparation for his next appearance.
"I can't really worry about when that will be," Weathers said. "As long as the opportunities are there. I just want to prove myself."
He said there is still pain in his right arm, but it is manageable.
"It's tough, because it comes and goes," he said. "It comes in phases, and there's a threshold you have to work through. You build up a tolerance."
The return rate for Tommy John surgery has been good in recent years. Among the many players to return to the major leagues after the procedure are Erik Bedard, Chris Carpenter, Francisco Liriano and Mariano Rivera. In 2008, the Dust Devils had two players on the roster — Sean Jarrett and Ethan Katz — who were recovering from the procedure.