WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Lefty reliever Jerry Blevins — acquired through trade with the Athletics in December, with the Nationals giving up minor league outfielder Billy Burns — found a familiar face when he arrived in Washington.
Blevins played college ball at Dayton with Nationals righty reliever Craig Stammen for two seasons (2003-04), and the two went their separate ways by way of the MLB draft — Blevins being taken by the Cubs in ’04, and Stammen by Washington in ’05.
“He was a year behind me, so we had a couple years together at the University of Dayton, the powerhouse Dayton Flyer program,” said Blevins, tongue-in-cheek, to 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny on Wednesday.
Blevins, as you’ll learn from the interview, is a bit of a jokester, which should help him fit in perfectly with a re-tooled 2014 Nationals roster.
Asked to go into his autograph rituals — particularly, if he’s a ‘no pictures, please’ kind of guy — Blevins answered, “I’m a ‘no pictures, please’ guy because nobody wants a picture.”
“I’ll never sign the sweet spot. I learned my lesson the first time I tried to sign, we had a manager that was signing right behind me, and he was like, ‘Hey, what are you doing? That’s where the manager signs,’ so you quickly learn the ins and outs of signing autographs.”
Fans can experience Blevins’ autograph techniques first-hand this Saturday. He’ll be appearing at NatsFest at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
“I’m telling you, that’s a lost art,” Paulsen said of leaving the sweet spot for the manager. “Nobody’s getting fifty signatures on a ball, and wants the manager on the sweet spot. Let’s just talk Nationals here, I want Ryan Zimmerman or Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg, or Jerry Blevins of course, on the sweet spot. I don’t want [Nats manager] Matt Williams.”
“I’m telling you, if you have to choose between Matt Williams and me, I personally would probably choose Matt Williams,” Blevins joked (I think).
Getting back to actual baseball, Blevins said he’s been informed his role with the Nationals will be primarily to face left-handed hitters in the seventh and eighth innings, although he notes, he’s had success against hitters from both sides of the plate, and is willing to be used however Williams sees fit.
Blevins looms large on the mound, but has a slight build with his 6-foot-6-inch, 175-pound frame. Asked what hitters will see when they step into the box against him, he offered, “[They’re] gonna see a lot of awkward length and skinny limbs” coming at them.
“They keep telling me — I’m 30 now — but they told me ‘Once you hit 18, once you hit 21, 25, you’re gonna start putting weight on,'” Blevins said. “So I’m at 30 now, we’ll see if it ever starts happening.”
Despite his inability to pack on the pounds, Blevins is confident in his ability to throw strikes, which his 2013 numbers would support.
In 67 appearances out of the bullpen last year for the A’s, Blevins struck out 52 batters over 60 innings pitched, commanding a 3.15 ERA and 1.067 WHIP.